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Tao For Today; Verse 5
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.
Heaven and Earth are not kind:
The ten thousand things are straw dogs to them.
Sages are not kind:
People are straw dogs to them.
Yet Heaven and Earth
And all the spaces between
Are like bellows;
Empty but inexhaustible,
Always producing more.
Longwinded speech is exhausting.
Better to stay centered.
Tao sees our behavior as an external mask. Tao sees beneath the mask to the goodness of our hearts.
Do not attack the behavior of others or try to change it. Stay centered in Tao and look beyond to the goodness of the heart.
Welcome- love- accept others. What pleases or displeases you about them doesn't matter. What does matter is reaching out, beyond behavior to welcome and accept.
To the sage, none are more or less important. The sage holds everyone as special and important. Nor does Tao give energy to some and take energy from others. To Tao, none and all are favorites.
Straw dogs were ritual objects. Before the sacred ceremony, straw dogs were held in esteem. Afterward, they were disregarded and trampled underfoot. The sage looks impartially and sees the sacred within the ten thousand things.
Today, as you walk through life, try to eliminate your judgement of others. Look for yourself, reflected in everyone. Look beyond the form of their body or behavior and seek the spirit that dwells in everyone. This is the meaning of Tao.