The Tao Te Ching: Verse Thirty-Nine

Those that attained oneness since ancient times:
The sky attained oneness and thus clarity
The earth attained oneness and thus tranquility
The gods attained oneness and thus divinity
The valley attained oneness and thus abundance
The myriad things attained oneness and thus life
The rulers attained oneness and became the standard for the world
These all emerged from oneness

The sky, lacking clarity, would break apart
The earth, lacking tranquility, would erupt
The gods, lacking divinity, would vanish
The valley, lacking abundance, would wither
Myriad things, lacking life, would be extinct
The rulers, lacking standard, would be toppled

Therefore, the honored uses the lowly as basis
The higher uses the lower as foundation
Thus the rulers call themselves alone, bereft, and unworthy Is this not using the lowly as basis? Is it not so? Therefore, the ultimate honor is no honor

Do not wish to be shiny like jade. Be dull like rocks                             

                                                                                        Lao Tzu

People often comment on how small the world is now that we are all connected by the phone, TV and the Web. But has all this technology really joined us together? I believe this is one of the great ironies of our times. Everyday someone figures out some way to communicate slicker and quicker but I ask; are we listening to each other or just talking at each other?

The lesson in Verse Thirty-Nine is a gentle reminder that we are all part of the same Whole. It is our birth right to feel this connection and draw great comforted and strengthened from this fact however; it is our nature to want to distinguish ourselves and establish our own identity.

The Universe will always support the vision and accomplishments of the individual as long as that accomplishment does not lead to isolation or subjugation of others. Acknowledging our local and global Interdependence is the key. Our future success as a planet depends on resisting our inclination to build barriers or focus on those things that keep us apart.

It is vital to understand that Isolation is one of the primary symptoms of an addiction. Whether it is an addiction to a substance, addiction to dualistic/judgmental thinking or an addiction to hate, power, or greed; the symptom of Isolation is very real and very toxic. So stay vigilant. If you feel yourself drifting and losing your sensing of citizenship to the Whole stop, re-evaluate and reconnect.

Imagine there’s no heaven. It’s easy if you try
No hell below us, above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today

Imagine there’s no countries. It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for and no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace
You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us and the world will be as one

                                                                                  John Lennon 1971

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

  1. More to contemplate, remember, and treasure…thank you Phyllis. I liked the points you made on “communicate slicker”: you refer to technology; I note the noncommunication that occurs with ‘communication techniques’: sometimes nothing more than a shield for fear of apprehending meaning. Recently, the disregard of intuitive personalities has been unveiled to me.

  2. Phyllis, Very nice. Thanks for sending it. However, please change the year by John Lennon. He was killed in 1980 and Inagine came out in the seventies. But his msg, and yours, came through nicely

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