Even with guidance this chapter remains a mystery to me.
Thank you to Derek Lin’s Tao Te Ching Annotated and Explained.
The great Tao fades away
There is benevolence and justice
Intelligence comes forth
There is great deception
The six relations are not harmonious
There is filial piety and kind affection
The country is in confused chaos
There are loyal ministers
Chapter 17 instructs rulers or a modern day leader how to act. The highest form being the leader whose followers are unaware that they follow him, rather the end result is a “We did it” as a team.
Thank you to Derek Lin’s Tao Te Ching Annotated and Explained.
The highest rulers, people do not know they have them
The next level, people love them and praise them
The next level, people fear them
The next level, people despise them
If the rulers’ trust is insufficient
Have no trust in them
Proceeding calmly, valuing their words
Task accomplished, matter settled
The people all say, “We did it naturally”
I picked up Living with Intent: My Somewhat Messy Journey to Purpose, Peace and Joy by Mallika Chopra after watching her give a speech on living with intent on a Ted Talks. Needless to say her words intrigued me.
Living with Intent follows Mallika as she journals her journey towards a life filled with purpose. It is both entertaining and educational. Mallika quotes many outstanding resources such as Eckhart Tolle and her father Deepak Chopra. She certainly has researched intent!
One of the more entertaining and I found real aspects of her book is her very real struggle to follow her intents. I enjoyed this as here was a person struggling with the day to day life, much as we all do, yet finding a way to do so with grace and purpose. She gives hope for all of us on the same or similar path.
All around I found this to be a warm book that gave me some tools (one meditation tool which I utilize almost daily) to help me with my intents. It is a great place for anyone who wished to make some real changes in their life to begin. I recommend this quick read.
Also by Mallika Chopra:
100 Promises to My Baby
100 Questions from my Child
Making an intentional change in your life is not that easy of a thing to accomplish. I know this as I have made a few and continue to struggle to make a few more. Below is a list of books that have helped me along the way. I hope they help you.
Rich Dad Poor Dad: What The Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not! by Robert Kiyosaki is the book that taught me how to think about money. Without this book I never would have invested, bought real estate or wrote my first book The Bartender is Your Landlord: Why The Wealthy Elite Invest in Real Estate and How Anyone Can Join Their Ranks. Hence this book is at the top of the list as it inspired the most changes in my life.
Clean: The Revolutionary Program to Restore the Body’s Natural Ability to Heal Itself by Alejandro Junger will change how you think about food, leaving you with a healthy body, more energy and less ailments. Add a little exercise and meditation to the eating guidelines in this book and you will be on your way to an amazing life!
Ancient Wisdom: Modern World by Dalai Lama has the potential to change how you view the people around you and how you treat them, perhaps leaving you happier and more content in your own life. Wonderful read.
Living with Intent: My Somewhat Messy Journey to Purpose, Peace and Joy by Mallika Chopra is a quick read allowing the reader a glimpse into the life of someone quite similar to ourselves on her journey to finding her purpose. Fun and educational.
Taking the Leap: Freeing Ourselves from Old Habits and Fears by Pema Chödrön not only teaches the art of mindfulness but shows us how to use it to stop making the same mistakes If you are looking for change this book can help bring it about. Certainly helped me with my temper.
I had to google what straw dogs meant for this chapter. Wikipedia gave me this to ponder:
Straw dogs (simplified Chinese: 刍狗; traditional Chinese: 芻狗; pinyin: chú gǒu) were used as ceremonial objects in ancient China.
In one translation Chapter 5 of the Tao Te Ching begins with the lines “Heaven and Earth are heartless / treating creatures like straw dogs”.
Su Zhe‘s commentary on this verse explains: “Heaven and Earth are not partial. They do not kill living things out of cruelty or give them birth out of kindness. We do the same when we make straw dogs to use in sacrifices. We dress them up and put them on the altar, but not because we love them. And when the ceremony is over, we throw them into the street, but not because we hate them.”
That is a lot to ponder considering the following two verses regarding sages and people. Is Lao-Tzu suggesting that the way is to consider people as straw dogs to be treated impartially? As always it is clear to me that I need someone to sound this off of.
The second paragraph seems to me to suggest that the space between heaven and earth is the Tao and that the Tao is like a bellows in that it breaths the fire of life. Thus perhaps the purpose or meaning of life can be found within the Tao?
Finally the last paragraph of this chapter reminds me that I should spend less time trying to explain and understand the Tao and more time silently meditating to it and putting it to use.
Thank you as always to taoism.net for this chapter and more.
Heaven and Earth are impartial
They regard myriad things as straw dogs
The sages are impartial
They regard people as straw dogs
The space between Heaven and Earth
Is it not like a bellows?
Empty, and yet never exhausted
It moves, and produces more
Too many words hasten failure
Cannot compare to keeping to the void
Chapter 4 of the Tao Te Ching is brought to you from taoism.net which is the site I have turned to for my recent study of the Tao. This chapter, much like the previous ones, has proven to require a lot of contemplation.
To me it appears to suggest that the tao though not the source of everything, predates everything and if utilized it will dampen the challenges faced throughout life. I think…
Oh well, here it is for you to ponder.
The Tao is empty
When utilized, it is not filled up
So deep! It seems to be the source of all things
It blunts the sharpness
Unravels the knots
Dims the glare
Mixes the dusts
So indistinct! It seems to exist
I do not know whose offspring it is
Its image is the predecessor of the Emperor
Look at this third chapter of the Tao Ching I am struck at the need for this in modern society. Again in the final words I recognize the mystery of the Tao in that I read that by acting without purpose I will indeed be able to control outcomes.
This chapter will be a challenge for me and I suspect anyone raised with Western values where we are taught to be ambitious; even reading the Tao Ching answers my personal ambitions of a more peace filled life but I realize the truths written here. Particularly the first and third chapter. I will need to spend more time with the second and fourth.
Please visit taoism.net for the full book and more.
Do not glorify the achievers
So the people will not squabble
Do not treasure goods that are hard to obtain
So the people will not become thieves
Do not show the desired things
So their hearts will not be confused
Thus the governance of the sage:
Empties their hearts
Fills their bellies
Weakens their ambitions
Strengthens their bones
Let the people have no cunning and no greed
So those who scheme will not dare to meddle
Act without contrivance
And nothing will be beyond control
Chapter 2 of Tao Te Ching seems relatively straightforward in its message except when it comes to how the sages behave. I read the words yet my mind struggles to grasp just how I would be able to do as instructed, which strikes me as the very thing that Taoism is trying to teach me, perhaps; by grasping at its concepts and trying to place it nice and orderly with my mind I am in fact labeling it thus missing to altogether. Not sure where I am to go from here. Hahaha.
Please visit taoism.net for the full book.
When the world knows beauty as beauty, ugliness arises
When it knows good as good, evil arises
Thus being and non-being produce each other
Difficult and easy bring about each other
Long and short reveal each other
High and low support each other
Music and voice harmonize each other
Front and back follow each other
Therefore the sages:
Manage the work of detached actions
Conduct the teaching of no words
They work with myriad things but do not control
They create but do not possess
They act but do not presume
They succeed but do not dwell on success
It is because they do not dwell on success
That it never goes away
The Tao that can be spoken is not the eternal TaoThe name that can be named is not the eternal name
The nameless is the origin of Heaven and Earth
The named is the mother of myriad things
Thus, constantly without desire, one observes its essence
Constantly with desire, one observes its manifestations
These two emerge together but differ in name
The unity is said to be the mystery
Mystery of mysteries, the door to all wonders
This translation was taken from Taoism.net. A site I reccomend you check out. The Tao is not a religion so much as it is a way of life. Loosely translated the Tao is the way.
This first chapter I feel states that you cannot name or fully describe the Tao rather Tao must be experienced without labels but that the hugest mystery is the bridge between our need to understand and be able to explain the Tao and actually experiencing the Tao without words.
The website gives a much better explanation here.
I will continue to share chapters from the Tao Ching as I experience them.
I read Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames by Thich Nhat Hanh a few years back while I was in a struggling relationship filled with anger. Thich Nhat Hanh’s wisdom and insight was a wonderful help.
Did his techniques completely remove my anger? Nothing is that simple. But his guidance did help which benefited both that relationship, my work relationships and every relationship that has come after.
I still struggle with my temper. I recently picked up Pema Chodrön’s Taking the Leap: Freeing Ourselves from Old Habits and Fears which when combined with that I learned from Anger by Thich Nhat Hanh has been incredible for me.
Do I still lose control? Yes, but far less frequently and I can often remove myself from the situation and return when I am ready to listen and not react emotionally.
If you struggle with anger as I do I highly recommend you start with this book, Anger, learn the techniques and then follow up with Taking the Leap.