Reflections on Chapter 18 of the Tao Te Ching:
When the Great Tao is forgotten,
Kindness and morality appear.
When intellect and knowledge are emphasized,
there is great hypocrisy in the heart.
Family is no longer in harmony
When there is preaching of duty and affection.
The nation is in disorder
When patriotic loyalty is admired.
I thought this chapter was great! It talks about something that I have always kind of noticed but I have really didn’t have the words for. One of the things that I think is so cool about the Tao Te Ching is that he has such a way with capturing concepts. What’s cool about this one is that he talks about how when there is kindness and morality, the Great Tao is forgotten. That is often what I have felt about religious principles. Christianity teaches that it is really important to be kind and proper and there is something not kind about how some people do that. These behaviors are two sides of a coin. It seems the more kind and proper you are, the more you are really not very kindhearted, really.
Some Christians have a superior attitude about kindness and morality, like everyone else is not moral or kind. The energy of how people are with this attitude is not very kind energy. People think they are being one way but they are actually not being that way. They think they are, but just by the very nature of the way they are responding shows that they are not.
So I think it is important to just observe your behavior. We all do these things. Everyone. If you say that you don’t do these things, then you have a different problem! lol… It is human nature to want to be good and to want to compete with other people. I think that’s very normal. At least in the U. S., it is. We’ve learned this from childhood. We’ve been brought up with games and sports and competition. Success is often times defined by what you do and how you do compared to other people.
When I was in high school, I used to often compare myself to other people with my grades. At one point, I got a little frustrated because I was doing really well and I looked around and it just felt too easy and I was way ahead. It wasn’t fun anymore. So I learned very early on not to compare myself to other people because sometimes it will hold you back from doing well. I had started slacking in my grades because I just kinda gave up trying and I was disappointed in myself. Once I realized what I was doing, I changed my tactics and it worked. I still did well in school, but I had more fun with it because I started learning new stuff for fun instead of as a comparison. It just didn’t matter anymore. I competed against myself instead. I gave myself little challenges to meet and then met them. I have been doing that ever since. (Although I must admit I still do love a bit of healthy competition!)
So how on earth does all of this relate? (I often ask myself! 🙂 ) Well, I think if we are natural in our approach – if we recognize that we are all part of a bigger picture and we all have unique and beautiful talents, there is no need for this pious competition of being more pure, honest, brave, smart, moral, fill-in-the-blank… just love each other. Love how your friend is a great athelete and you kinda suck at it. Love how your daughter is a reading genius and that’s her thing. Love how your boss is really good at golf. (I have no idea on that one – I just made it up.) And most importantly, love yourself. Love yourself for being YOU and for having the unique and fabulous talents you have.
So what do you think of all of this? What do you think about morality and kindness? What are your thoughts on competition? Please share your comments in the space below!
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