Reflections on Chapter 59 of the Tao Te Ching:
When managing people and serving Heaven,
nothing is better than moderation.
True moderation is based on early habits.
Early habits develop strong virtue.
Strong virtue means you can overcome any difficulties.
Overcoming any difficulties means no limitations.
Without limits one can maintain a nation.
The source of one’s virtue can help nations to endure.
This is called deep roots and a firm foundation –
the path of Tao.
The Tao Te Ching is so obvious so much of the time.
You think, “I could have told you that…” This chapter is so simple and so true. You really just need to make sure that you are practicing moderation and developing good habits. Good habits are everything. We’ve talked about this in our awareness series. A lot of the awareness posts are about habits and developing the habit of observing yourself. You just need to practice doing the things you think are important so when you are in a situation, you have the skills because you have practiced them. We did this all the time with Tai Chi. We practiced the moves again and again, so if you were ever in a situation you would be ready. Musicians practice all the time so that they can be ready to play at any time and sound fabulous. There is something marvelous about this, but it is really very simple… practice good habits!
This is simple to talk about, not so easy to do!
If you feel that it is important to be honest, practice honesty. Every day. Moderation is about not being too complicated. The truth is very simple. It is our complicated blah, blah, blah – the stuff we put all over the truth- that makes it complex. The truth is very simple. Be virtuous. Be true. Practice integrity. Practice being aware of how you are living your life. Keep going.
As I am going through these chapters, I struggle to write sometimes because the truth of what the chapter is saying is so simple. Maybe that is why hardly anyone ever comments on the Tao Te Ching chapters in their books! The truth is so simple! Why do you need to add anything to what he is saying?
Lao Tzu is saying to live in moderation and don’t go crazy.
A habit is a lovely thing. Habits are challenging, and yet I know that they are really important. There is so much that I want to accomplish in this lifetime. It is overwhelming. A lot of times I get into this overwhelm and it is too much. There are too many things. What he is talking about in this chapter is that it is really important not to take on too much. This morning, I was looking around my house at all the stuff and thought that I should just keep a bag handy as I walk through my house and get rid of the stuff that isn’t important anymore. Our stuff is an example of our lives. We have things that aren’t important to us anymore and they take up space. We also collect people and activities that take up our lives and need purging every so often. I am always looking for ways that I can improve things. One way would be to get rid of the junk – time junk, space junk, people junk.
Habits can be good or bad.
You can have good habits. One of the good habits I have established is flossing my teeth. I am pretty regular with it. I went on a trip last week and ran out of floss, but for the most part I do it every night. I find that if I do it regularly, it is great. It becomes a habit and I don’t have to think about it anymore. Another good habit I have developed this year is going to the gym. My trainer may not say that right now because I haven’t been there in a few weeks, but I try to go to the gym three times a week and my husband and I have been pretty faithful with developing that habit and it is good. When I stopped going, I missed it! But I am back on track now! The key is to just get back on the horse when you fall off it.
Half the stuff you do is habit.
Habits are everywhere. It is all about looking and seeing if these are habits that you want to keep or habits that you want to get rid of. If you create a habit about what you want your life to be… pick something small… moderation! Pick something small and work to build a habit around that thing and it will grow bigger! This blog is a perfect example of that! When I first started this blog, I was scared. I was scared to tell anyone that I was even writing this blog. It was such a big commitment and I was scared of failure. I was scared that I would tell a bunch of people and then quit before I was done and not finish it. For about five months, I wrote on it and didn’t even say anything. No one visited me because I never told anyone it was even there. I had to build that habit of writing. What this blog represents to me is working on myself and really making the commitment to doing that on a regular basis. Spending the time each week looking at myself and looking at my patterns. What am I doing with my life? Am I moving toward the things that really inspire me? Making those things what I really spend my energy on.
So what habits are you trying to get rid of? Does anything come to mind as you read this post? Please feel free to share your thoughts or just say hello. I also appreciate when people share my posts with their friends and families! It helps me to grow my blog. A big THANK YOU to all of you who have been doing this!