The Tao Te Ching: Verse Twenty-Three

Sparse speech is natural
Thus strong wind does not last all morning
Sudden rain does not last all day
What makes this so? Heaven and Earth
Even Heaven and Earth cannot make it last
How can humans?

Thus those who follow the Tao are with the Tao
Those who follow virtue are with virtue
Those who follow loss are with loss
Those who are with the Tao, the Tao is also pleased to have them
Those who are with virtue, virtue is also pleased to have them
Those who are with loss, loss is also please to have them
Those who do not trust sufficiently, others have no trust in them

                                                                           Lao Tzu

After years of going to extremes to discover the meaning of life, the oral stories about the Buddha relate that he heard a music teacher explain to his pupil that if he tuned his instrument too tight the strings would break; too loose and the instrument would not play. These instructions provided a great insight for the Buddha and he began to live a life according to the Middle Way. Following the Middle Way, finding the balance in life; this is the message from Lao Tzu in Verse Twenty-three.

Living at the extreme ends of any physical, emotional or spiritual continuum is exhausting and blinds you to seeing options and answers. This myopic view distorts reality and can cripple a professional or family caregiver as he/she struggles to problem solve or be available when times get tough.

Lao Tzu uses the weather and the seasons on earth as a metaphor for the Cycles of Life that we all experience. Understanding that all conditions and states of mind are temporary helps you avoid overreacting to anything that you perceive as negative. Staying mindfully, that is, living fully in each moment is vital to knowing in your soul that the sun follows the night and occasionally, there are rainbows after storms.

One thought on “The Tao Te Ching: Verse Twenty-Three

  1. This verse makes sense to me. We can only sustain momentum in either direction for a certain amount of time and then you burn out. However living from the middle you can do more for a longer period of time with a reserve for yourself.

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