Reflections on Chapter 46 of the Tao Te Ching:
When the world follows Tao,
horses are used to plow the fields.
When the world is without Tao,
war horses are bred in the countryside.
Nothing is more unfortunate
Nothing is more unfortunate
One who understands contentment
always has enough.
Our energy needs to be focused on bettering our lives,
rather than tearing each other down.
War would be completely unnecessary if people just loved each other instead of hating each other. The energy invested in war is so wasted. The lives of the horses in this chapter are lost in war. This is just an example of how that waste manifests itself. The Tao Te Ching was written at a time in China when there was a lot of senseless killing. It was a brutal time. It was a serious problem. I am not sure if it is much better today, actually. This is sad. The energy that we use every day, whether we are a soldier or an office worker or a person on the street – all this energy that we put out into the world today, what kind of energy are we creating? What are we doing?
We all have moments when we are not putting
a very good image into the world.
We get lazy and sometimes we get grouchy. Sometimes you know what you are doing and you can see it. You just hate how you are being, but you can’t help yourself. When you are caught up in that wave of that, you can’t seem to help yourself.
All of the wars and all of the grumbling
comes out of a place that is not how you want things to be.
You’ve made a decision that things should be different than they are and you are mad about it. Wars are the same way, but on a bigger scale. It could be a war in your kitchen or a war in your nation. It is how you are carrying yourself. The key to all of this, the key to a peaceful life is to find the contentment. Be happy with just how things are right now, as imperfect as it is. So many things would just fall apart and not be relevant anymore if you just spent your energy in that – if you were just OK with how things are, right now in this moment.
I was writing a comment on someone’s post the other day and I started to say something. My comment was about my wanting something that I didn’t have. I looked at it and I realized my mistake. I thought, “I don’t want to put that out there. I don’t want to be like that.” So I just erased it and wrote something else. It is as simple as that.
It is about catching those little moments.
You won’t catch them all or you wouldn’t be human. Try and see what little shifts you are able to notice and change for the better. You can say, “I am not about that anymore.” No guilt. No remorse. Just change it. If you have been a grouch for your entire life, you don’t have to keep being a grouch. There is nothing out there saying that you have to keep being like that. Nothing.
When you look at the energy of desire,
it is about somebody else having what you want.
That is desire. You are upset because they have it and you don’t. You want something you don’t have. Both of those things are recipes for disaster. It isn’t good. You can reverse that and say there is nothing more fortunate than being completely free of desire.
Think about those moments when you are perfectly free of desire.
Think about this desireless place for a moment. Think about sitting outside on a beautiful day… it is perfect weather, totally gorgeous and here is a free day stretched out in front of you. It is perfect in every way because nothing is desired. The moment that you find something to be desired, you’ve ruined it. You don’t need anything else to make this happen.
You just need to smooth out the edges.
My husband is a woodturner. When he is working with wood, some of the woods are just so smooth. He just keeps rubbing them and they end up smooth like glass. They feel beautiful. That is you. That is your personal development. You start out a little rough in patches and you just gradually get more refined. You work on yourself and get a little better. As you go through life, you just get better. As you age, you get better. Who would want to go back? There are so many things that have come out of this lifetime so far. So many lessons that you have learned. They are beautiful refinements of who you are and who you are becoming. Like a fine wine, you are continually becoming. It’s a beautiful thing.
So what have you noticed in reading this chapter? I would love to hear from you. Please add your comments below. If you like this post, you can help me out by sharing it with the buttons up in the top right sidebar. That would be great. I can’t do it without you. My goal is to spread the awesomeness of this work. 🙂