Tragedy and Redemption

Reflections on Chapter 60 of the Tao Te Ching:


Governing a country is like frying a small fish.
Don’t overdo it.

When governing with Tao,
deceptive thoughts lose power.
It is not that the thoughts are less potent,
they just can no longer lead people astray.

The people will harmonize
with sagely wisdom,
and all will be protected.

Original power will be integrated
and returned to oneness.

Leadership is a common topic in the Tao Te Ching.

Not everybody is in a leadership role per se, but we all lead people sometimes. We usually try and influence the people that are most dear to us. If we feel that someone is doing something that is not right for them, we try to influence them to make (what we consider) better choices. Even if you don’t feel like you are a governor of a country or something like that, you use these principles in your life.

You need to leave people to do the right thing. Trust.

Much of the time we don’t trust that things are inherently designed to work without intervention. The birth of a baby is an amazing thing. All of the elements come together naturally and this child comes out as a living thing. Wow. That is a testament to how miraculous and how intelligent life is. Life has inherent intelligence. We forget this. We live like we have to do stuff to make things happen. We use a bit of force… particularly here in the U.S. We are so distant from our food, from animals and from nature. I’ve met people that don’t even like to be out in the woods and I wonder how is that even possible.  We need to trust nature and in our lives and in the lives of our closest people. When live from that place of trust and trusting that everything will be perfect and trusting that your children will make the right decisions and really expressing your trust to them rather than your admonishments, it is helpful.

Our bodies are so intelligent that they perceive all lies.

We think we are deceiving other people when we tell a lie or stretch the truth. If you really look at your life and at your communications with other people, you can feel it when something is not right. A lot of what Lao Tzu talks about throughout the text is really trusting your internal instincts. Going back to a simpler way of life and trusting yourself. We are taught in the U.S. not to trust ourselves with our body.

“Ask your doctor, ask your doctor.”

Don’t trust yourself, go ask your doctor. Granted, it is good to ask your doctor many things you don’t understand but when it comes to something going wrong in your body, you need to trust your signals. If there is something going wrong in your relationship, you need to trust the signals.

When something is out of kilter,
your body knows it. There is no deception.

Deception just isn’t possible because energy is passed back and forth and the truth is present. As far as being lied to, it is the same thing. You can’t be deceived. The only way that you will experience deception is when you’ve stopped listening to your body. Your body knows the truth.  You just have to pay attention to it. It is ingrained in you. You know when something is wrong.

Intelligence goes way beyond what we can even imagine right now.

We can’t even scratch the surface right now of our intelligence potential  People talk about the brain and how we use only about 10% of it (see this link for the debunking of this popular myth by Scientific American). I really think the other 90% is the stuff that is out there, the stuff we don’t know or the stuff we don’t know that we don’t know…the stuff that is out there. The rest of it.

That is why I have been so voracious for learning in my lifetime.

I have this insatiable appetite for learning. There is just so much out there to learn. It is amazing! That is what all that space in my brain is for! It is there because I have so much potential. If you buy a brand new computer and it has like a zillion gigabytes of space on it, it has all this space on it for all your stuff. It is not just the stuff that is right now, it is the stuff that is to come! The potential, the white space. This is the potential that we have available to us. We have to trust our potential and understand that we don’t know anything. We don’t know ANYTHING. If you can come from that space of the first step of the twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous… you admit that you are powerless. Just let it happen. That is a good place to be. It is comforting. You don’t have to get there. You don’t have to get there and you will never arrive. You will never know everything, you will never know perfection. Trust the Universe, trust that everything will come together in just the right way.

Take a look back at your past experiences.

Here is a great list of examples of this truth. You can see that it all works out in the end. Life is so much like a movie, you watch a movie and in the end it all works out. That is what our lives are really like. You may have some really horrible tragic thing happen to you, but in the end it all works out.

If you are in the middle of it and you are not quite believing this yet, don’t worry. Someday you will be able to look back and see it.Take a look back at the horrible experiences you’ve had in the past. We are programmed to block that understanding when we are in the middle of it, but we can trick our minds into understanding if we look outside of our current turmoil. Life goes in cycles, like those darn Mercury retrogrades we love to hate. It goes back and forth, back and forth, tragedy and redemption, tragedy and redemption. It is all just part of this lifetime and this lifetime is just a tiny piece of who you are.

We are the village on the pin in Horton Hears a Who, you know.
Life is big. Get used to it. Enjoy it.


  1. Everyone’s a leader, Amy – of their own life and all the people they touch. You’re so right in your discussion of how much more potential we have than we realize. Brain capacity vs. use alone is a huge indicator, of course (and a fact that has always amazed me in terms of what could be possible with full brain activation), but it’s the little things that make us big. Leading by example, living with appreciation, knowing everything we do that involves another touches them in some way (why not strive to make it for good?)and influencing others with quiet wisdom is done best without fanfare. As you note, there’s also a lot to be learned from the challenges. We appreciate the wins so much more with benchmarks for achievement that include the lows. Admittedly, I still have a long way to go to find inner peace, but am learning to hold back when I feel the urge to ‘overdo it’ alone or with others. I’m waiting for the day when deceptive thoughts lose power in the US political system and all return to harmony. Perhaps we can achieve this one person at a time? It’s amazing to witness how much a single individual can do to foster change – no need for fame in the mix.
    Nanette Levin recently posted…Social Media is an oxymoronMy Profile

    • I think the leadership thing is so big, Nanette. It is such a big part of the text and yet it is not the leadership that we sometimes see today. Change is incremental, like you said. We can only control the changes to ourselves so if we “be the change” like Gandhi says then we are doing it.

  2. This is so right, we often block our own internal reaponses about lies. We tell ourselves what we want to hear and as a conseqence, stay longer in situations we should move out of. When we look back we often see a lesson that has repeated itself, until we finally stop and listen and learn it. It is hard seeing the things we dont want to see but essential to growth and wisdom. Great post.
    Athena Brady recently posted…My first author interviewMy Profile

    • You said that so well, Athena. That is so right! We WANT to think that our friend or family member is being honest and many times that overrides what our body is telling us. I think if we are honest with ourselves, we know.

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