Reflections on Chapter 54 of the Tao Te Ching:
That which is well planted
cannot be easily uprooted.
That which is firmly held
cannot be taken away.
Our children’s children
will honor our sacrifices
through your own life
and your character will be true.
through your family
and virtue will be overflowing.
through your community
and virtue will be long-lasting.
in your nation
and it will prosper.
in the world
and virtue will be endless.
Understand your family
through other families.
Understand your community
through other communities.
Understand your nation
through other nations.
Understand the world
through all worlds.
How can I understand the Universe?
By cultivating that which is within.
One of the assumptions that people make
is that they don’t make a difference.
I think that is part of the reason why things don’t end up the way we want them to be in the world. People behave however they want to. They don’t consider that everything counts. I think when we become parents, we see the direct result of this. You’ve probably experienced a time when someone was really kind to you. It impacted your day. Perhaps you heard a story about something remarkable that someone has done and it surprised you.
These people are just people like everyone else, but they made a decision
to just live the world as they want it to be.
I would quote Gandhi here with “Be the change you wish to see in the world” but I would have both Waylon Lewis at ElephantJournal and the NY Times arguing that Gandhi did not actually say that, so I will refrain with my apparent misquote. I can’t help but think of Gandhi as I write this post. We watched the movie about him the other night. Eric and I had both watched it numerous times, but this time we made Tatia, my daughter, sit through it. She was not thrilled at first, but we wanted her to see what this man had done with his life. He was amazing.
In this chapter, Lao Tzu is talking about really understanding the power that you have. We all have tremendous potential power. It is internal. It is given to all of us. It is not a question of whether or not you have this power, but more a question of whether or not you are going to use it. What are you going to do with this power? How are you going to use it?
A place to start with this is in your own family.
With your children, your spouse, your roommates, your neighbors. Be the partner, friend or parent you want others to be. Focus on how you are being and use that as a catalyst to help change the way things are. You will probably find that things shift. If you are in a rough situation and the other person just starts just being not rough, something would come out of that. You can see that things would really shift. You can be that person. There is no need to wait for the other person to start. You can start it.
Relationships can be difficult.
Sometimes people hang on to relationships that are pretty far gone or unhealthy. If you own it and make it about you, which all of it is, you have a way to shift it. All of it is about you. That is not a narcissistic thing, that is just the world. You define your world based on how you perceive it. If your perception of the world is faulty, then you need to make some corrections. It is about you. It is not about the other person doing things differently. Once you change your perception of that, it shifts. At the very least, it becomes less important that it is wrong and you can let it go. At the very least, that. You find some compassion for where the other person is coming from.
Sometimes you will find what is needed is to make a stand for yourself.
There are relationships that you get into that are unhealthy for you. When you stay in relationships like that, you are putting a statement out into the world that you are not worthy. That is faulty. You are worthy! Imagine that everyone who observes you takes on this vision of unworthiness. They make it their own. When you live a life of unworthiness, you teach the people around to be that way as well. Not all of them are going to take that on, but that is the impact that you have. As a parent, you have seen it. Whatever your foibles are, they get carried down to your children and it is upsetting. You think, “No! How can I change this?”
You can change this by working on yourself.
I think working on yourself is the most important thing you can do in this lifetime. The most important thing. That is why I am writing this blog. That is the whole reason that I am here, it is the whole reason that I am doing any of this stuff. It is the most important work that there is.
I want this to be my legacy.
I want to stand for you understanding who you really are and how powerful you are. That is a good thing. It is not powerful like overpowering other people. You are powerful in the sense that you can be a strength for other people. There is a big difference there. A big difference between these two things.
We all have it. It is like a little seed inside us.
Most likely, you have found it already. You have found something in your life that you are really good at. That is your thing. You are really good at that thing. That is your place of power. That is your spot. That is where you can really help the world. Not just for what you are able to do, but as a model for how you carry yourself when you are in that space. Every single person has it. We are all unique like leaves and snowflakes. We all have a special gift that we are bringing to the world but we don’t always know what it is. It is some special thing that we are bringing into the space. When you recognize it, it gives you something exciting to move towards. You can realize that and say, “That is where I am going. I can get behind that!” You are on your path. To me, that is what this little book is all about…helping you find your path.
What do you think? I would love to read your comments. Please add a comment below and let me know you stopped by!