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When you are content to be simply yourself...

Author Stephen Mitchell describes Tao as "the basic principles of the universe" and estimates Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching (Book of the Way) as one of the great wonders of the world.

Written around 6th century B.C., this ancient text has been hailed as a manual for "wisdom in action". Presented below are a few select couplets that unfailingly appeal to the heart and the mind.

1. We begin life gentle and yielding
At death we are rigid, inflexible.
The grasses that grow are green and supple.
In death they are withered and sere.

Therefore, the rigid and inflexible
Belong to death.
The gentle and yielding
Are filled with life.

If your plan is inflexible,
It cannot succeed.
Unable to bend,
The tree will break.

Hardness and stiffness
Lead to destruction.
Flow with the process
And live to prevail.

 

2. The supreme good is like water,
which nourishes all things without trying to.
It is content with the low places that people disdain.
Thus it is like the Tao.

In dwelling, live close to the ground.
In thinking, keep to the simple.
In conflict, be fair and generous.
In governing, don't try to control.
In work, do what you enjoy.
In family life, be completely present.

When you are content to be simply yourself
and don't compare or compete,
everybody will respect you.

 

3. Fill your bowl to the brim       
and it will spill.
Keep sharpening your knife
and it will blunt.
Chase after money and security
and your heart will never unclench.
Care about people's approval
and you will be their prisoner.

Do your work, then step back.
The only path to serenity.

 

4.Can you coax your mind from its wandering
and keep to the original oneness?
Can you let your body become
supple as a newborn child's?
Can you cleanse your inner vision
until you see nothing but the light?
Can you love people and lead them
without imposing your will?
Can you deal with the most vital matters
by letting events take their course?
Can you step back from you own mind
and thus understand all things?

Giving birth and nourishing,
having without possessing,
acting with no expectations,
leading and not trying to control:
this is the supreme virtue.

 

5.Knowing others is intelligence;
knowing yourself is true wisdom.
Mastering others is strength;
mastering yourself is true power.

If you realize that you have enough,
you are truly rich.
If you stay in the center
and embrace death with your whole heart,

you will endure forever.

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