Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Tao Te Ching.

We join spokes together in a wheel,
but it is the center hole
that makes the wagon move.

We shape clay into a pot,
but it is the emptiness inside
that holds whatever we want.

We hammer wood for a house,
but it is the inner space
that makes it livable.

We work with being,
but non-being is what we use.

-Tao Te Ching Chapter 11

One of the latest books I've read is Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu (Stephen Mitchell translation).  When I first started reading it I decided to take note of which chapters really stood out to me, leaving an impression and making me think.  Then I looked down at my paper and realized almost every single chapter I read I wrote down.  After reading the 12th chapter and writing eight of them down I decided it was pointless and I should just plan on reading it again.

Lao Tzu puts much emphasis on not-doing.  Like many Westerners in our society today, not doing anything often scares me and just the thought of it stresses me out.  Learning to keep things simple and be comfortable with doing not-doing is much harder than it sounds and yet much easier than we think.  At first not-doing seems stressful but when you truly learn how to practice this meditation it becomes the stress-reliever and relaxer.  I have yet to master not-doing and to be completely honest with you I’m not sure if I ever will.  However, I plan to continue to work on it through meditation and relaxation.

I have read a couple of these chapters from Tao Te Ching in some of my dance classes comparing the message not only to life but to dance and movement as well.  It is interesting to see how the girls start to understand how it applies.  Of course when I first read it they all look at me with a blank stare telling me they have no idea what I just read and it went way over their head.  But as I break it down they begin to understand the concept and the importance of remembering this mindset in life and in dance.  Especially knowing that it takes practice and you won’t master it the first time or even the second or third but you can’t beat yourself up over it because that’s the whole point and it doesn’t get you anywhere, in fact if anything it takes you farther away from your goal.  

I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone.  It's a quick read and will get you thinking... or not thinking.  I'm beginning to wonder which is better...

He who stands on tiptoe

doesn't stand firm.

He who rushes ahead
doesn't go far.
He who tries to shine
dims his own light.
He who defines himself
can't know who he really is.
He who has power over others
can't empower himself.
He who clings to his work
will create nothing that endures.

If you want to accord with the Tao,

just do your job, then let go.

-Tao Te Ching Chapter 24

1 comment: