The Tao Te Ching: Verse Thirty-Two

The Tao Te Ching: Verse Thirty-Two

The Tao, eternally nameless
Its simplicity, although imperceptible
Cannot be treated by the world as subservient

If the sovereign can hold on to it
All will follow by themselves
Heaven and Earth, together in harmony
Will rain sweet dew
People will not need to force it; it will adjust by itself

In the beginning, there were names
Names came to exist everywhere
One should know when to stop
Knowing when to stop, thus avoiding danger

The existence of the Tao in the world
Is like streams in the valley into rivers and the ocean

                                                                                     Lao Tzu

In Verse Thirty-Two Lao Tzu is encouraging us to resist our very human nature to over complicate things. I can just sense a compassionate smile come over him as he wrote these lines and connected with our need to try to control all that is around us; which of course then leads us to agonizing over why our lives seem so unmanageable.

Desire complicates the choices that we make and the actions that are taken. This complexity needs to be replaced with simplicity so that we may find the Middle Way and be more content. Grabbing for control is like clinging to delusions. They seem real while you live in your head but in reality they are just the cravings of your Ego taking form in your dreams. When you realize that you have been dwelling in fantasy, the pain is gripping.

In Buddhism this is known as Suffering or more closely translated as Discontentment. The Four Noble Truths in Buddhism are: (1) Suffering exists; (2) Suffering arises from attachment to desires, (3) Suffering ceases when attachment to desire ceases, (4) Freedom from suffering is possible by practicing the steps in eightfold path. These steps are (1) Right view or understanding, (2) Right thought, (3) Right speech, (4) Right action, (5) Right livelihood, (6) Right effort, (7) Right mindfulness, (8) Right contemplation or concentration.

So you see the relief to Suffering is in knowing and accepting that life Flows and that we throw the obstacles in our own Path. We create the rapids and the chaos by clinging. So just let go and float. Find the faith and courage to accept that all is as it should be.

“Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.” His Holiness, The Dalai Lama


2 thoughts on “The Tao Te Ching: Verse Thirty-Two

  1. Phyllis,
    This is beautiful. And so true. I am learning to let go and it has transformed my life.
    Thank you for sharing your beautiful thoughts and words.

  2. it is so true, just breathe and know the universe flows and remembr not always in the direction we think it should.

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