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Tao For Today; Verse 2
The Tao Te Ching is a philosophical text written by Lao-tzu, a philosopher and historian, during the time of Confucius. This text, written in two parts, with eighty-one short sections, serves as a philosophical guidepost. The term "Tao" means way or path. In many philosophical works, this term refers to a calling. In the Tao Te Ching, the term Tao refers to a much larger metaphysical principal, a universal oneness, from which all things come, and to which all things return. While "Tao", is a path, and a way, the meaning is much broader, encompassing and mysterious. The term "Te" refers to the moral power and virtue associated with one who follows a correct path. In the Tao Te Ching, Te refers more to the virtue one gains by following Tao, the way. The perennial wisdom presented within the Tao Te Ching seems mysterious and complex with first reading. Upon further inspection, meaning recedes further, until the text seems convoluted and impossible to understand. Such is the mystery of Tao. Rather than wrestle with meaning, absorb the words and let the Tao speak to you.
Recognize beauty and ugliness is born.
Recognize good and evil is born.
Is and Isn't produce each other.
Hard depends on easy,
Long is tested by short,
High is determined by low,
Sound is harmonized by voice,
After is followed by before.
Therefore the Sage is devoted to non-action,
Moves without teaching,
Creates ten thousand things without instruction,
Lives but does not own,
Acts but does not presume,
Accomplishes without taking credit.
When no credit is taken,
Beauty cannot exist without ugly. Good cannot exist without evil. The act of labeling one thing automatically defines other things. Living in harmony with Tao means accepting things as they are, without judgement, accepting paradoxes, opposites, and dichotomies as life unified.
Each one is made of the eternal Tao, and the created 10,000 things. Let this contrast reside within you. Observe the Tao in everything, letting go of judgement and criticism.
The Sage moves through life, experiencing and creating, not judging or imposing. While the Sage acts, he also surrenders to the energy of the Tao.
Rather than seek credit, the Sage accomplishes without trying, then reclaims his place in the eternal. The Sage returns credit to the energy of the universe and when his life is spent, reclaims his place in the eternal mystery of Tao.
Today, be at peace as you observe the Tao unfolding in everyone. Do not judge, label or criticize. Just be.