Tao Te Ching (Dao De Jing) Interpreted by Moses Siregar III (A Work In Progress) Copyright 2018
1 The mind will never get it all figured out. We don’t need a treatise on love. It’s an experience, and it comes from the heart.
If we name a mystery, We might start to believe in our own labels. Better to open the heart and breathe.
Mystery has no name, no face. The mysterious way isn’t a thing. Don’t try to find it, it’s not there at all. Maybe it’s present in the gaps between, when we stop.
Luckily it’s only a mystery.
2 The drama is the interplay of opposites: good and evil, rich and poor, life and death.
How can one be good without creating the opposite? Careful with that ego.
The wise act but don’t do much, teach best without a word, allow whatever arises to be, and let go, expecting no particular outcome.
When the work is done, you can’t give yourself credit if you’re already focused on the next thing. Always humble, always successful.
3 We waste so much time putting people on pedestals and then tearing them down. If you ever make your way up there, what do you think will happen?
Focus less on stuff you can’t take with you when you die. It’s your consciousness that remains, and all the times you made a kid smile. It’s what you make of your heart and mind.
If you want to lead people astray: Fill their minds instead of their hearts. Pump them up with unbridled ambition. Make them think they know exactly what they need to do.
Later, they will know less, then maybe they will hear the song bird. And help someone in need.
4 The Good Source cannot be exhausted. You turn off your own hose, every time. At some point, we all blink in the fear of not being enough, and the Good Source withdraws its ever-present blessing.
It’s a love affair, and the lover will not be possessed. Lay down your fragrant flowers.
It’s best to be friendly and easy-going. Gently untangle your own tensions.
The lover will love you once you’re no longer in it for yourself.
5 Let go the past. Let the emotions go, too, after feeling them.
Be moved from inner stillness. Allow yourself to allow something greater.
It’s in the silence.
6 Be empty and open, like a mother. If you can, be ever generous, never depleted.
7 Live for others and you will live forever. Lead humbly from behind; others will follow without knowing why. Be concerned with yourself only to diminish yourself. Let go to have it all.
Give your best sincerely. Others want to be loved, respected, and given attention. Never make it hard on yourself; give them what they want.
You can’t take yourself seriously when you are an ephemeral show. Temporary roles are part of a theater, not a lasting monument. Be moderate and guard your health. The play will end, but do your best to make it to the finale.
8 Water gives life by flowing, never forcing. It becomes solid, melts, and dissipates. Then returns to give life again.
Calm the mind, and keep it simple. Speak, but only to uplift. Work, and be impeccable with your skill. Love your home, but be ready to leave. If you must govern, do so only to benefit others. Act from stillness, at the optimal moment. Avoid conflict, be generous and fair; have nothing to defend.
Water never competes, never compares. Like a mother, it grants life to everything and everyone. Selfless, choiceless, without guile. Everyone knows: Nothing is greater, and nothing can compare.
9 Be humble enough to seek moderation in all things. Your stomach works best when it isn’t full.
The spoils of this world can only weigh you down.
This is enough.
When the job is done, be gracious but retreat from adulation and acclaim.
Simply do your best, and stay off the throne.
10 Befriend silence, darkness, and emptiness. How soft can your breath become? Can you close your eyes to see the light? As you begin to understand, can you remember that you know nothing?
When life gives, must you feel elated? When life takes, must you feel shattered?
Can you lead without anyone knowing it? Can you be like a mother, asking for nothing in return? Can you be like a father, remembering that you teach what you need to learn?
11 It is the space between letters that makes reading possible. Silence during a meal allows us to taste succulent flavors. The space between us allows for a gentle breeze to cool us both.
Doing produces things in space. Being creates the space.
In any situation, look to who or what is empty and receptive for its wisdom. Erect a shrine to an empty glass, neither half-empty nor half-full. When in doubt, do nothing.
12 To have better intuition, learn to be patient with the mind. Derive joy from incredibly simple things. Open up to being an instrument.
Not everyone can remain calm, but luckily, we have some time to learn.
A desire to be of benefit to all other beings is a good place to begin.
Many never truly rest, always addicted to craving. Behind great accomplishments, resting well is half of the magic.
When it’s time to rest, rest.
13 Rockstars may have sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll, all of which may sound fine and good, but rockstars can never get to know themselves.
We want to be cool. We want to be liked. Yet there is no shortage of love. There is a perfect supply inside my own heart.
Someone who values her relationship with herself more than anything else is one of the few mature enough to consider spiritual warfare against the temptations of power. Or a relationship.
14 Don’t take your holy business so seriously. No need to take any of it literally. These are myths, stories. We need only go so far. We grow up.
Then we can stop murdering one another en masse because we grew up with different fairy tales.
All spiritual wisdom is as old as the earth. Respect those who have learned things before you, and, because your life depends on it, learn from them.
Lose the arrogance and look to the past, the ancient wisdom simply needs to be put into your own words. So find some old folks, or even some old texts, and give thanks.
15 She is peaceful deep within. She watches her mind as it thinks. Her feet touch the earth. Her nervous system is calm, as she is active and engaged.
She doesn’t want anything. She gives of herself freely, and she remains full of life’s rejuvenating power, flowing, adapting, loving.
16 How many seconds before your next thought arises? Watch and see.
We can live in union with This.
We don’t need to create a new way; Pursue old-fashioned simplicity instead.
Would you be ready, if death comes?
17 Learn to help without anyone realizing. Don’t take credit.
It’s okay if people know and love you. Just don’t get trapped. The old way said it’s better to be feared than despised; either option is terrible.
Bring out the best in others. This will bring out the best in you.
Take action, but remain in the background. When someone says it’s going great, keep your head down.
18 That there are benevolent heroes reveals that there is really something wrong. The solution isn’t greater heroes, But that we all return to simple harmony.
So much cleverness, conniving, scheming, no one is honest with anyone, and the distance between us grows greater.
19 Sit and enjoy your meals.
Be normal and simple. Beneath the drama, all is well.
Others will follow when you’re not leading.
Forget your schemes, stop trying to benefit yourself, and then maybe we’ll stop lying to and stealing from one another.
Pay attention to your breath.
Don’t believe that you need anything more to be happy right now.
20 Liking and disliking. Grasping and pushing away. Clinging and rejecting. They’re the same thing.
Good and evil create each other.
If you think your way is best, that’s just your opinion.
Don’t squeeze your happiness. Let it linger on your palate. When happiness flies away, open your heart to everything you’re feeling.
What time is it?
21 Whenever your worst vices arise, continue to be an alert witness.
Be it pride, self-deception, defensiveness, or justifying any form of harmful or vindictive behavior (even thoughts). Perhaps it’s not giving yourself 100% of your own love and support. Because if you haven’t done that, what else can you do?
Find happiness outside of relationships. So that you can find happiness in relationships.
No matter what comes, be confident in your innermost spirit.
Heal the world with the only force that can. Starting at home.
22 The masses yearn to be superheroes. Value the opposite of whatever the masses want.
Without humility, you’re nothing.
And the point of humility is that you’re nothing. Check mate.
Never defend your ego in an argument. As a benefit, you’ll stop having arguments.
By being in deep harmony with herself, she gives the greatest gift.
If you’re fighting, you’ve already lost. In a fight, everyone loses.
23 Be moderate, not mediocre.
In this life, there is one given: You make all the choices. Sometimes you choose how to react.
We should honor and celebrate our roles as choosers. A sacred ceremony to honor the spirit within. The opportunity in each moment to choose.
If you were to be who you really want to be, the noble being that you are in your heart of hearts (and why not choose to be that?), then how much greater would you be?
Would you be kinder, funnier, more patient? More thoughtful, generous, positive in speech? Decisive, courageous, forgiving?
You can choose self-importance, to feel abandoned, or hopelessness. You can choose harmony, deep breaths, and self-honesty.
24 Walk. Use your senses to connect through nature.
25 The great mystery cannot be solved, or at least, not until you’ve surrendered. Once you’ve surrendered, you can no longer take credit for whatever is happening.
Something greater is happening. Maybe it’s a partnership, between a person and the great mystery.