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Tao For Today; Verse 2

Updated on May 26, 2011
Deborah Demander profile image

Deborah is a writer, healer, and teacher. Her goal is to help people live their best lives every day by sharing her joy and love of life.

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,

Accomplishment endures.

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.


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    • Deborah Demander profile imageAUTHOR

      Deborah Demander 

      8 years ago from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD

      Thanks Katie.

      Winsome, thanks for the great reflection.

      Thanks for reading ceciliabeltran.


    • ceciliabeltran profile image


      8 years ago from New York

      Oh I agree with this a whole lot!

    • Winsome profile image


      8 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      I like the Greek word for perfect that literally means "mending the nets"--implying that perfect is a verb and the "perfecting" of the net that is our life is ongoing by the direction of the Spirit of God and possible only by reflection (eg moon reflecting the sun) the unveiled, imperfect faces reflecting the only perfect one and being transformed in the process "from glory to glory" =:)

    • katiem2 profile image


      8 years ago from I'm outta here

      Deb, Aw wonderful and now I feel the peace of a frozen river... Isn't that who it goes. Love the Tao, PEACE :)

    • Ashmi profile image


      8 years ago from Somewhere out there

      Hi Deborah......the difference between a sinner and a saint is???..that the saint never gave up. The saint was once a sinner and the sinner can be sanctified.

      The Way to perfection must be constant. To be, how hard can it be? We know that we are, what we don't know is who we are. To remain in pure being; without being this or that. What a blessing!

      Whatever is perceived blissfully is beautiful.

    • Deborah Demander profile imageAUTHOR

      Deborah Demander 

      8 years ago from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD

      Thanks for stopping by bp. You are right, it's not easy, but it is possible to practice perfection.


    • breakfastpop profile image


      8 years ago

      Fascinating hub. These are words to live by, but I must say it's not easy.

    • Deborah Demander profile imageAUTHOR

      Deborah Demander 

      8 years ago from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD

      Thanks everyone for stopping by.

      Suny51, that's exactly the point. Everything does lead up to Him.


    • suny51 profile image


      8 years ago

      In any case,every thing leads up to Him,No?


    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 

      8 years ago from TEXAS

      It really is!

    • thevoice profile image


      8 years ago from carthage ill

      finest quality hub to read thanks

    • Deborah Demander profile imageAUTHOR

      Deborah Demander 

      8 years ago from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD

      Thank you, alternate poet.

      Sometimes simplicity is all that is required.


    • alternate poet profile image

      alternate poet 

      8 years ago

      Good idea to put up the Tao - when I discovered it I was struck by how it parallels 'modern' Critical Thinking, and how we are only a couple of thousand years behind it !

      I also like your uncomplicated explanation, too many people try to mysticise it - when in fact it is a relatively simple guide to good human behaviour.


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