Reflections on Chapter 81 of the Tao Te Ching:
Truthful words are not beautiful.
Beautiful words are not sincere.
Good women don’t argue.
Women who argue well aren’t good.
The wise person does not have book knowledge.
The person with book knowledge is not wise.
The sage does not collect things
and so she gives to others.
Since she gives to the people,
she has tremendous abundance.
The way of Tao is sharp
but never harms.
The way of the sage is to serve
and not compete.
Things are never as they seem.
We want things to be perfect, but it is the imperfect things that are perfect. You can try to structure everything so it has this perfection and you can formulate it all around in your mind, but it will never be so. It’s the opposite of what is there. If you are trying to make something be something, it is not that thing. Perfection always has an inherent fake-ness to it.
That is truth.
It seems counterproductive that when you are generous you are prosperous, but it’s true. Money is not finite, it is flow. If you desire to be confident and you are striving for confidence, where are you right now? Yeah… It’s the opposite. When you strive for perfection, it eludes you.
We’ve all probably had that person in our lives that will tell us like it is.
When you are in a situation with someone, it seems like you are going to hurt their feelings if you tell them the truth. But it is less hurtful in the long run to just tell the truth. Just be with someone and let them be the way they are. Tell the truth. I was talking with my sister the other day and we were talking about this. We talked about how much of a relief it is when someone tells the truth about something. It isn’t under the rug anymore, or it isn’t the giant pink elephant standing in the living room. We are all perceptive. We all know everything inside our cells, so we may as well make the outside match the inside.
Many think that a leader is supposed to be above everybody.
The best leaders are actually the ones underneath people pushing them up. That has been said before in the Tao, but it is coming back to that here in the very end. In chapter 80, we were talking about the knitting line (I was wrong) and we had some conversation in the comments about the knitting part and about writing. What is wrong with writing? I have been writing to you for the last year and a half. Writing isn’t bad or wrong, it just isn’t the experience.
When we try to capture Tao, when we try to define it and identify it, it’s not there.
You just can’t do it. Tao is something that is every aspect of being, but it can’t be captured, it can’t be written down. It says that in the very first chapter and it says it here in the very end. You have to let the Tao just wash over you and be part of your experience. Enjoy those moments. The more you try and study it and make sure you have it right, the more wrong it will be.
That is just the way of the Tao.