Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu Chapter 27, A good traveler leaves no tracks

A good traveller has no fixed plans
and is not intent upon arriving.
A good speaker is well rehearsed
and speaks without causing harm.
A good artist lets his intuition
lead him wherever it wants.
A good intellect has freed itself of
concepts and remains open to what is.
A good knot needs no rope
and cannot be undone.
Thus the Master is available to all people
and doesn’t reject anyone.
She is there to help all of creation,
and doesn’t abandon even the smallest creature.
She is ready to use all situations
and doesn’t waste anything.
This is called embodying the light.
What is a good person but a bad person’s teacher?
What is a bad person but a good person’s job?
If you don’t understand this, confusion will arise
however clever you are.
This is the secret of prime importance.

Most of us live our lives and relate to the world exclusively through our ‘schemas’, which are internal maps or representations of reality. These schemas can come between us and a direct experience of reality as it is, stranding us on the level of merely how we think it is.

A lesser mind is bound by concepts, ideas and expectations and tends to find only what it’s expecting or wanting to find. A bad artist loses the spontaneity of the creative process when his mind tries to direct what ought to be a product of intuition and inspiration. And the traveller whose journey is solely a means to an end is more focused on the destination than the unfolding journey and is thus blinded to the beauty around him.

The key here is to let go of our need to control and our need to know, plan or be right. If we let go and allow life to unfold around us, without the need to judge, control or manipulate reality according to the filters of our mind, then the result can only be more wonder and greater joy.

Impartiality is a key message in this verse. It’s all too easy to judge, label, categorize and so negate others. When we do this, we no longer see other people, we see only our mental judgments: good, bad, worthy, unworthy, kind, unkind, and so on.

The Master, however, is impartial and open to all life and is available to all people and all situations. No one is rejected and no situation is wasted.

The wisdom to see beyond the narrow judgments of mind and the ability to step out of duality to realize the oneness of all life is the hallmark of the Master and is referred to here as embracing or ‘embodying the light’.

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