70 – Practicing the Tao


My words are very easy to understand
and very easy to practice.

Yet no one has the ability to understand them
or practice them.

My words come from the source.
My actions are disciplined.

Most people do not understand this.
They are not aware of my teachings.

The ones who understand my teachings are rare.
The ones who follow my teachings are treasured.

Therefore, the sage dresses plainly,
concealing precious gems.


  1. Great pictures and words….
    Carolina HeartStrings recently posted…SC EVENTS – DECEMBER 2012My Profile

  2. What a great post. It’s similar to what Yoda said – “Either do or do not do. There is no trying.”

    In Tao there is only receptivity to go with the flow.
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  3. There is so much that we can practice in life that can bring us a to a better place… one of peace. I often wonder why we don’t always choose that practice for ourselves… is it fear? Is it avoidance? I ask myself why I don’t do it more myself. Thank you for putting this out there for me to read.
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    • I have often wondered about that too. I think that we all do. I’ve been listening to Alan Watts lately. He has a lot of interesting things to say about this topic in Out of Your Mind series. Worth a listen!

  4. Amy, I miss your commentary. While I get the lead by example concept and the learn through experience gauge, there are things about the Tao that continue to confuse me. Namely, the myriad of passages that infer this is a secret to be kept (maybe it’s a translation issue?). What’s your take on the ‘answer’ vs. ‘secret’ messages being put forth in this tome? Would you consider doing a post about this? Thanks!
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  5. We tend to overcomplicate our lives and our practice, therefore it becomes too difficult and we give up. If we keep it simple with curiosity and with the child mind then we will see what we have been missing. Then we can practice with ease. That is what I could see in this passage.
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  6. I agree with Nanette. Your commentary helps sort through the mystery. I’m sure there are as many interpretations of this passage as there are readers of it…which is why I have a Yoda PEZ dispenser, sweet wisdom always in his mouth.
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    • Thanks for the feedback, Susan. I have SUCH fun writing the essays that go with each post. Pretty soon, I will be done writing them and then all of them will be essays or perhaps just Taoist thoughts and reflections. As for interpretations, this book is second to the Bible in how many times it has been translated! (Although I think translating the Bible would be a much larger task!)

  7. Another great opportunity to reflect. Yes the words are easy to understand and practice and yet they are so difficult. It seems impossible for both to be true but I know they are. I would like to be in the “rare and treasured” department but, alas, I am only human and an imperfect one at that. I long for a more constant sense of peace instead of one that seems to come and go. Perhaps, over time, this will become more and more the space I live in. Thank you for taking the time to translate and share over the past year. I am so inspired by your dedication to this process and how helpful it has been for me. I am honored to be your friend.

    • I think that you are a lot further ahead believing that you are NOT in the rare and treasured department, Michele, as those who believe they are [usually falsely] have a bit further to go than those who are a bit more humble! lol…

      I am honored to be your friend, too, Michele! I love it when my friends are total equals and I feel so much that way with you. It’s a perfect balance. 🙂 [grin, virtual hug].

  8. I love how contemplating the Tao can so quickly put you in that place of expanded awareness. Often it feels to me like taking a running start heading in one direction, and then hitting the wall and bouncing back into the opposite one. And then somehow with enough of that going on, a little gleam of undertanding pops through and you realize it’s been there all along.

    • Or you may end up with a bumpy head! Perhaps you could do it without hitting your head? 🙂 So we do bump up against the truth now and again and it is always there for us, isn’t it? That is an interesting analogy.

  9. Therefore, the sage dresses plainly,
    concealing precious gems.

    These words say so much…….Amazingly simple yet deeply profound. Contemplation and introspection is what is required….Thanks for sharing.
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    • If we look at our own understanding of this, we know this. If someone is flashy, we tend to distrust them. If they are subtle and we find out that they are witholding their treasure, we are naturally intrigued. We want to know more. You don’t give away the store.

  10. Amy, I confess I get a little lost in the words, but if I breathe in the energy of this post, ahhhhh, just fine. Thank you!
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    • I think a lot of this kind of work requires you to relax your mind as you read. Just as when you relax your eyes as you look out and can suddenly “see” more, you can see more of the words as you relax your mind. I have never been able to see those magic eye pictures that are hidden inside of other pictures, but I understand this stuff just fine. Go figure.

  11. I love the last line…”Therefore the sage dresses plainly concealing precious gems.” It reminds me of people who are rich and everyone knows it because of the car they drive, the clothes they wear and the house they live in. I have great respect for people who are rich and live simply. I’ll never forget one of my college professors who pulled up one day in a run down station wagon. Later in class he said, why buy a new car when the old one runs just fine? I wonder if he realizes the life changing impact those words had on me?
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    • I took my car into the shop last week for an oil change. I always take it to the same shop and the guy said to me, “Just how many miles are on your car anyways?” (He knew that I had been taking my same car there for years.) It is almost at 200,000. “It becomes a bragging point after you hit a certain point,” he said and indicated that his car is on it’s second engine and that he sees no reason not to just buy a new engine rather than taking on a car debt. Amen to that. I say this not so much to save money, although that is a nice benefit. It is just to save myself from spending money unnecessarily. There is a big distinction there. If I don’t waste money on having a fancy car or a new car, that is money that I can put towards supporting others and better choices in spending. I have been reading a book called “Minimalism”. It is really good. It is about simplifying your life. Really good.

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