Tao Te Ching 63

Act but remain disinterested.
Manage but don't get too close.
Enjoy but keep your appetite in check.
In difficult situations use positive energy to avoid mirroring any hostility you encounter.

Use easy tasks to prepare for hard ones.
Use simple tasks to prepare for complex ones.
All the major problems in the world can be analysed and tackled by breaking them into smaller constituent ones.

The wise should avoid grand gestures –
by so doing they will show true greatness.
   Distrust those who promise lightly
   or offer simplistic solutions.
By carefully evaluate any course of action in advance
the wise will find their pathway clearer.


Tao Te Ching 62

Tao /Gaia /Cosmic energy is the world's greatest miracle
… reward of the benevolent
… protector of the malevolent.
Its wisdom guides people, arousing respect,
inspiring good works which win public gratitude.
   Even criminals are not abandoned altogether.

When crowning the Emperor and installing the three ministers of state
the finest jade is offered in front of the four horses –
yet for richness none of this compares to being grounded in Tao.

Why did the ancients value it so?
   They didn't claim everyone would find it,
   nor that this was their own fault.
It is because Tao lies far beyond words
that it has the greatest value in the world.


Tao Te Ching 61

A powerful country is like a river flowing into the ocean, combining its many tributaries –
   where Mother Nature nurtures a flood plain eco-system.

The feminine overcomes the masculine by calmness –
   using the 'weaker' position to outlast opponents.

Thus if a large nation is weaker than a smaller nation,
   the latter will allow itself to be absorbed;
and if a smaller nation is weak it willingly merges with a larger.
   Therefore to be weaker is not necessarily to be a loser.

A powerful country needs to unify and protect its citizens.
A weaker country needs its citizens to identify with and serve it.
   If both achieve this, it is appropriate for the dominant nation to act magnanimously.

Tao Te Ching 60

A country should be ruled with minimum intervention – like grilling a small fish.

If the dynamics of Tao are used to govern a nation, its negative archetypes cannot gain traction.
Not only will its demons have no power, neither can its gods interfere.
Not only will its gods have no power, neither can the wise interfere.

When this happens energy circulates naturally between all sections of society.


Tao Te Ching 59

In the service of state or universe
   there is nothing so valuable as holding one's fire.
When we restrain ourselves or yield to greater pressure
   we are accumulating innergy.
With this moral power
   there is nothing we cannot overcome.

None of us knows what hidden depths we have,
   yet all are masters of our own reserves.
Understand this principle clearly and death loses its terror.
With your roots running deep in the soil to give a firm foundation
   may the Tao [/cosmic innergy] of perennial wisdom be yours.


Tao Te Ching 58

When government is restrained people are straightforward:
When government is intrusive people are devious.

Good fortune masks misfortune:
Misfortune masks good fortune.

Who knows how they will end their days?
Are there any guarantees?

Right actions carried to extremes become wrong.
Good may be subverted to hide evil.
These are enantiodromias which deceive the populace.

Therefore the wise are
… right without being self-righteous.
… honest without being legalistic.
… straightforward without being ruthless.
… enlightened without being preachy.

Tao Te Ching 56

Those who know don't talk about it:
Those who talk about it don't know.

Be discreet:
Keep a watch on your senses:
Don't flaunt your superior wisdom:
Be a peace-maker:
Moderate your own development for the sake of the less able:
Be fully present:
These conditions create the perfect alignment [/mystic union] between inner subjectivity and outer reality.

One who has achieved it is neither beguiled by friendship, nor affected by disappointment.     
Nothing can be added to hir, nor can it be taken away.
S/he is impervious to honours as to disgrace.
And for those very reasons is a most valuable person.


Tao Te Ching 57

Govern your country straightforwardly:
Deploy your army cunningly:
Don't interfere with your neighbours.

    How do I know this? Because …
Too many rules make a country poor.
Too many weapons make a country chaotic.
Too many factions make a country ungovernable.

The more laws: the more villains.

    Therefore the master says:
I act disinterestedly: others find their way.
I limit my power: others self-correct.
I don't interfere: others grow rich. 
I act without desire: others return to nature.


Tao Te Ching 55

Those with an abundance of 'innergy' [/virtue] are protected
like newborn children from venomous or predatory attacks.
Babies' bones may be fragile and their muscles weak
but their grip is firm.

They know nothing of sexuality yet take infinite delight in their bodies due to optimum well-being.
They can cry all day and never lose their voices due to complete psycho-somatic integration.
To feel such 'intunity' is to know true inner alignment.
To feel such inner alignment is to know clarity of purpose.

Beware of over-exuberant innergy as it can appear aggressive.
Whatever is over-strengthened tends to age faster.
This process is inimical to an optimal flow of cosmic energy.
Whatever does not work with Tao can never last.


Tao Te Ching 54

What is deeply rooted cannot be dislodged –
What has profound integrity cannot be eradicated –
Subsequent generations will honour its memory.

Cultivate it in yourself: you will find its 'innergy' inexhaustible.
Cultivate it in your family: you will find its innergy overflowing.
Cultivate it in your community: you will find its innergy enduring. 
Cultivate it in your nation: you will find its innergy brings prosperity.
Cultivate it in the world: you will find its innergy benefits everyone.

Observe the relationships of others with yourself.
Observe the relationships of other families with yours.
Observe the relationships of other communities with yours.
Observe the relationships of the world you know with those of different cultures.

How do I know the world's secret? 
… this …


Tao Te Ching 53

With even a little knowledge of cosmic energy forces
   it still requires vigilence to stay on the path.

The pathway is plain enough but many imagine they can take shortcuts.
The results are easily seen:
… corrupt courts
… barren fields
… empty barns.

When the powerful
… treat themselves to the best
… are jealous of their privileges
… live in a different world from everyonelse
… pay no taxes
It's daylight robbery –
   not Tao.


Tao Te Ching 52

When the world was formed Tao was its mother.
Knowing the mother we know the children.
Seeing that they /we still cling to the mother
we can live our lives in confident understanding of our existance.

Be self-disciplined –
   Mind your own business –
      Live a trouble-free life.
Be ignorant and idle –
   Poke your nose into other people's business –
      Expect endless grief.

Look at detail objectively,
   and it gives you the bigger picture:
Maintain flexibility,
   and you will achieve resilience:
Use your in-sight to see clearly:
   Avoid life's pitfalls …
Achieve peace of mind.


Tao Te Ching 51

All created matter springs from cosmic energy forces [Tao].
Each is nurtured by an inherent life force or 'innergy'
and formed by time and chance;
but it is adversity that perfects them.

Therefore all life-forms respect this Tao
and experience their highest good within its innergy.
This respect or awe is innate –
owing nothing to any intellectual conception.

     Thus we see that while:
"All created matter springs from cosmic energy forces -
and each is nurtured by an inherent life force,"
Tao also nurtures and guides each species in a heuristic evolutionary path,
developing the characteristics each requires for survival within its environment. 

     Note that while it creates life,
Tao places no restrictions around it.
When its forces interact they do so invisibly;
and their 'guidance' is never controling.

Assimilating all this
   is to discover the true innergy within oneself.


Tao Te Ching 50

In the midst of life death surrounds us.

30% of the world seeks a long life.
30% of the world is headed for a short life.
30% of the world is after a wealthy life,
   yet is drawn to an early death by excess.

And what of the remainder,
   those who cultivate their inner life?
      On the road they do not meet with accidents.
      In the army they escape injury.
Due to their heightened consciousness they foresee risky situations,
   and behave level-headedly if they find themselves in danger.

Having no fear of death,
   death is not attracted to them.


Tao Te Ching 49

The wise are without prejudice:
they see all perspectives.

Patient with the good,
impatient with the bad:
   they demonstrate the virtue of moral insight.

Sharing belief with believers,
they also share unbelief with unbelievers:
   thereby demonstrating the virtues of faith.

The wise live in the world
   and are affected by the same passions.
Others notice the difference.
   The wise nurture them.

Tao Te Ching 48

With book learning, continual expansion.
With Tao, continual contraction – reducing and reducing
   until one reaches a state of non-attachment.

With non-attachment there are no limits to what have be achieved.
   Approach the world from the principle of neutrality.
   Those who are determined to control are not fit to govern.


Tao Te Ching 47

No need for a long pilgrimage to understand the world.
No need for a large telescope to understand the Tao [/forces of cosmic energy].

The more you study the less you comprehend.

The wise therefore look inward for enlightenment:
   seek to understand by intuitive discrimination:
      master knowledge by quiet reflexion.


Tao Te Ching 46

When the world understands living in harmony with Tao [/cosmic energy]
   the materials of war will become the materials of peace.

While the world fails to understand living in harmony with Tao [/cosmic energy]
   all nature suffers because of man's inhumanity.

There is no greater crime than greed:
   no greater disaster than dissatisfaction:
      no greater personality defect than money-grabbing.

Aligning with the content of your heart is the only way to heart's content.


Tao Te Ching 45

What is perfect has a missing ingredient:
   It lacks a dynamic.
What is complete is wanting:
   It has nowhere to grow.

Super straightness may appear bent.
Superb skills may appear crude.
Superior eloquence may appear unconvincing.

Every movement comes to rest.
Every fire burns itself out.
Quiet clarity is the yardstick of good judgment.


Tao Te Ching 44

Which means more:
   Fame in the world or clarity in the heart?
Which is more important:
   Material riches or spiritual riches?

Being seduced by glamour leads to heavy spending.
Serious buying habits result in great debts.
      Inner peace steers us away from danger.
      Knowing when enough is enough avoids catastrophe.

These are the guidelines for a sustainable life.


Tao Te Ching 43

What is soft ultimately masters what is hard.
What is without form penetrates what has no access.

From this I know the effectiveness of altruistic action;
and how example teaches more powerfully than words.

The benefits of altruism are unparalleled by those motivated by conventional wisdom.


Tao Te Ching 42

Tao [/cosmic energy flow] gives birth to singularity.
Singularity gives birth to duality.
Duality gives birth to trinity.
Trinity gives birth to the multiplicity of life-forms.

Life forms grow from the female energy [/yin] interacting with the male [/yang] and achieving harmony by a fusion of their energies.
Those who cannot understand this find themselves lonely, helpless and without merit –
the very phrase our rulers use to describe their own position.

Thus appearances are deceptive,
for one may
… accept loss but find gain
… accept gain but find loss

What the ancients taught I will also teach:
   Those use aggression in life will not experience a good death.
I will make this the basis of all my teaching.


Tao Te Ching 39

These achieve one-pointedness:
… the sky - whence clarity
… the earth - whence tranquillity
… the gods - whence divinity
… the valley - whence fertility
… the diversity of matter - whence life
… the emperor - whence social harmony
All came from one-pointedness.

Sky, without clarity, would disintegrate
Earth, without tranquillity, would erupt
Gods, without divinity, would disappear
Valley, without fertility, would become desert
Diversity of matter, without life, would be dead
Emperor, without social harmony, would be overthrown.

High structures need solid ground.
When rulers describe their role as lonely, helpless and unmerited are they not using humility as an anchor?

Don't seek to be glossy and desirable like jade;
but be dull and dependable like rock.

I paraphrased this and the surrounding ones as a refuge from madness during the weekend I directed the Cherubim Trust Mozart Weekend

Tao Te Ching 41

Worthwhile people hear of cosmic energy flow [/Tao] and study its ways.
When ordinary people hear of cosmic energy flow - sometimes they seek to understand, but often they forget.
When rough folk hear of cosmic energy flow they laugh out loud.
   If they didn't laugh, it wouldn't be Tao.

From this we can construct the following :
The clarity of cosmic energy flow appears obscure.
The advance of cosmic energy flow appears as retreat.
The smoothness of cosmic energy flow seems lumpy.
The strongest inner power appears weakness.
The greatest integrity appears shameful.
The protective powers available to us seem incomplete.
The power of development available to us seem inadequate.
The greatest profundity appears inconsequential.

The ultimate security has no fences.
The ultimate holder is never watertight.
The ultimate music makes no sound.
The ultimate image is without form.

Cosmic energy flow is hidden and anonymous,
yet Tao is both the source and completor of all realities.


Tao Te Ching 40

In reciprocal motion we encounter Tao [cosmic energy]
In flexibility we engage Tao.

Everything in the world emerged from some thing.
But life itself emerged from no thing.


Tao Te Ching 38

Following the right path requires constant effort – and therefore generates spiritual energy.
   Following the herd requires no effort – and therefore generates no energy.
The right path is not complicated but must be followed for itself own sake.
   In herd life people are forever motivated by ulterior motives and personal advantage.
Goodwill requires fine judgment but must be exercised for its own sake.
   Apparently virtuous actions often contains mixed motives.
Social conformity enforces precise demands with violent threats.

Once this occurs Tao [/cosmic energy flow] is lost,
   followed by loss of confidence,
      loss of goodwill,
         and finally civil behaviour.

Those preoccupied with external forms have only a superifical integrity over depths of inner chaos.
   Those claiming to understand Tao are generally superficial and thus spread misinformation.
The wise don't dwell on surface issues, but penetrate to the heart of things by study and observation.
   They arent misled by the flower but wait for the fruit, showing learning and discrimination.


Tao Te Ching 35

If you hold in your mind the idea of cosmic justice and balance it will attract others to itself, and create a space for people of goodwill to cooperate harmoniously.

A fine restaurant offers a feast for the senses attracting people from far and wide.
   Yet the Tao [/cosmic energy flow] is beyond such senses.
It cannot be discussed because the words would just seem like tepid noodles in relation to the reality.

Look as you will, you can never find it.
Listen as you will, you can never hear it.
Use it as you will, you can never exhaust it.

Tao Te Ching 37

The principle of cosmic energy flow [/Tao] is unchanging,
   yet its dynamic is everywhere.
If the emperor [/conscious intention] can hold onto this principle
   things will transform themselves unaided.
To keep such transformations in proportion
   a restraining consciousness of Tao is required.
With this intangible awareness
   one can hold without possessing.
Without possession and with a stilled mind
   the world is restored to order.

Tao Te Ching 36

To shrink something
   it must first have been expanded.
One can only weaken
  what has first been strengthened.
To lower something
   it must first have been raised.
One can only retract
  what has first been offered.

Seeing this is to understand the fulcrum of change.
What is soft and permeable overcomes what is hard and brittle.
To each life-form it's own environment.
The tools of statecraft are not for the populace.