The Tao Te Ching: Verse Six

The valley spirit, undying
Is called the Mystic Female

The gate of the Mystic Female
Is called the root of Heaven and Earth

It flows continuously, barely perceptible
Utilize it; it is never exhausted


  Lao Tzu

Lao Tzu has stated in previous verses that the Tao is the source of all things. In verse six he expands on this tenet and shares that females are those that produce all things. They are the mothers of everything on earth (Yin Energy); the land, the animals and all human beings. Without females or mothers, there is nothing else in the world. As a lifelong feminist, these words certainly resonated with me. However, once I get past my political bias, I believe that the message contained within this verse is to be mindful of the miracle of creation and our ability to tap into the Divine Feminine/Yin Energy within each of us to create, recreate or be creative.

In the past, I was confused by the description of Yin Energy as passive, cold and dark while Yang (masculine) Energy was referred to as active, light and warm. After much contemplation, I reasoned that the translation is a bit misleading. Yin Energy is not passive. It is subtle and alluring. Yin Energy is Attractive/Magnetic Energy and it is the powerful, balancing complement to Yang Energy.

Yin Energy is contained within the body’s fluids such as cerebral spinal fluid, blood and joint-lubricating/synovial fluids. It transports nutrients and chemical messages throughout the whole body as a subtle, relentless, inexhaustible flow. Any deficiencies in Yin Energy can manifest as arthritis, dry skin, or as a reluctance or decreased ability to make a decision.

You become irritable and argumentative. You feel compelled to rationalize all your choices out of defensiveness. You lack the certainty that comes from knowing the truth of something. You become physically and emotionally over-heated like an engine that has lost all its liquid coolant. You are constantly battling a sense of exhaustion.

It is essential for professional and family caregivers to keep their reservoir of Yin Energy full so that they can remain compassionate while maintaining their own wellbeing. Abundant Yin Energy manifests itself as deep reserve, patience and mental clarity. Yin Energy is replenished by keeping joy, relaxation and adequate amounts of rest built into your way of life. This practice enables each of us to access his/her Yin Energy’s greatest tool, intuition.

Intuition is the ability to perceive or know what to choose or do next. It is the ability to just sense which way to flow next. Your intuition is always present within you but you need a healthy flow of Yin Energy to enable you to access it and attract or draw life answers to you. Yin Energy is the still point, the haven, the place of regeneration and healing. It is the quiet place inside to retreat to and refresh or recreate ourselves. When you sense that life has become a struggle, STOP. Turn inward and reconnect with your Devine Feminine/Yin Energy through meditation, stillness and putting your own oxygen on first.  Only then will you be able to create the life you want while remaining open and available to others.

2 thoughts on “The Tao Te Ching: Verse Six

  1. Well done & hits upon all insightful points–I truly enjoyed reading “Verse Six” and how you made the verse true to use in our daily lives. Your thought and feellings of interpretation where an excellent lesson.

  2. Weird how I used exactly the same example for one of my patients last month who was letting her family obligations derail her efforts to improve her health…”put the oxygen on yourself first”…is a very powerful image!

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