Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu Chapter 20, I alone am dark
For some people, this is not only the longest verse of the Tao Te Ching so far, but perhaps also the most challenging. Lao Tzu paints a portrait of life as a self-realized being and much of what he says runs counter to the ethos of our culture.
Instead of being filled with thoughts, the mind of the Master is empty and because of this, he has no worries. He is but a visitor in this world. Instead of rushing about trying to direct and control the events of his life, always with an eye to achieving and acquiring, he instead blows like the breeze, aimless, free and unencumbered.
Instead of constantly striving, he accepts whatever comes his way. Instead of deriving his sustenance from the things of this world, he takes his nourishment from the great Mother. This is the way of the Tao. Many people would likely be horrified at such a way of life and indeed, as Lao Tzu states, to most he would seem like an idiot. But one of the great secrets of life is that liberation and lasting peace can never come from anything external – they can only come from within.
Our continued attempts to control life and re-shape it into what we think it should be is what ultimately what keeps us locked into the illusion, running around like a hamster in a wheel.
The Master realizes that we need do very little because, ultimately we’re being done by life itself. Surrendering to this realization, we can allow ourselves to live in accord with the Tao and thus know true freedom.
I was once struck by the title of a Buddhist book which succinctly sums up what I believe is the message of this verse. It was called “Being no one, going nowhere”.
Perhaps the being alone is sufficient.
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