Which Way to Go?

Reflections on Chapter 79 of the Tao Te Ching:


In settling a bitter dispute,
there sometimes is a bit of resentment left over.

How can this be remedied?

The sage holds the debt
and does not lay blame on others.

The virtuous own their obligations.
Those lacking virtue own no mistakes.

The Way is impartial,
but supports the path of virtue.

When you have a dispute with someone, you generally tend to think that it is about them.

There is resentment left over sometimes. You feel like they have done something to you. The sage owns up and says, “It’s my responsibility.” I am responsible for how I feel and what I am going through. That is so true in life.  You have to look at what your role is in your disputes.

If you don’t own up to this responsibility, it will just make the dispute more difficult.

I’ve been thinking back to some of the disputes that I’ve held on to. In every situation, I am holding onto some blame. It is still a dispute because I am not taking responsibility for anything in the dispute. My responsibility may be just in speaking my piece, letting them know how I feel. Many times that is enough to dissolve the transgression. The feeling of freedom from dispute feels like a fresh rain. It feels good in your heart. It feels settled.

If you are not there, you still have some work to do.

The other person may or may not know that anything is going on, although it is my belief that we are energetic beings and we sense all of this regardless of whether or not it is spoken. They may not be upset. You may want them to be, but they seem unaware of what is going on. In that case, they don’t have a responsibility.

You have a responsibility for managing what emotional states come into your world and how you work through them.

If you give that power to someone else, you are giving your power away. That is important to remember. Your power is in your ability to manage the things that occur in your life. If you are blaming others and making it about what they have or have not done to you, then you are just creating problems for yourself unnecessarily.

You can’t control what other people do.

You can’t make a choice and say, “I am going to make this person do this. ” You can try and they might do it, but you are sacrificing part of your connection with that person to accomplish this. They will start building a wall to protect themselves from you. You are foregoing their right to choose.

There is something inherently wrong about that. 

We all do it. It is not a matter of judging ourselves and judging others for doing these things. It is more about just taking a look.  If we see a pattern we don’t like, just shift it. That is all we have to do. Shift the patterns that you are not really happy with about yourself.  You can do it. We all can.

So what do you think? Has this brought up any stories in your life you wish to share with us? Please leave a comment below. If you enjoyed this post, please share it with the buttons below! 


  1. Thanks for sharing this! Sometimes it’s so easy to let arguments go on and on when it’s just not necessary.

  2. Thanks Amy, I needed to hear this post today.
    Athena Brady recently posted…How do we teach the concept of peace to children?My Profile

  3. I totally agree. Taking ownership of it is part of getting past it.
    Naomi recently posted…Photo-heart connection: springtime plantingMy Profile

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