The Tao Te Ching: Verse Sixty-Three

Act without action
Manage without meddling
Taste without tasting
Great, small, many, few
Respond to hatred with virtue

Plan difficult tasks through the simplest tasks
Achieve large tasks through the smallest tasks
The difficult tasks of the world
Must be handled through the simple tasks
The large tasks of the world
Must be handled through the small tasks
Therefore, sages never attempt great deeds all through life
Thus they can achieve greatness

One who makes promises lightly must deserve little trust
One who sees many easy tasks must encounter much difficulty
Therefore, sages regard things as difficult
So they never encounter difficulties all through life

                                                                                            Lao Tzu

These words from the sixty-third verse of the Tao serve as a whispered reminder that we make life much harder than it needs to be. We consistently get in our own way of being content by forgetting that the vehicle used to arrive at contentment is fueled by heart energy and not our intellect.

How often have you had to acknowledge that something was not as hard as you thought it would be? We put ourselves through this superstitious ritual fearful that if we did not sufficiently torment ourselves the outcome would be undesirable. We lose sight of the fact an outcome not necessarily aligned with our desires may be the best thing to ever happen to us.

What if we embrace our challenges as interesting landmarks on the road of life? Drive up to them, be mindful and fully engaged in the experience, learn the lesson and then be on your way. We could then act without action (over-reaction). We would intuitively understand that the best approach to addressing a daunting task is to break it up into manageable parts. We would not hesitate to ask for help or refuse it when generously offered. We could breathe.

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

  1. So true. That is a lesson many of us should learn. It reminds me of a more simplistic explanation for tackling a large task: How does one eat an elephant? One bite at a time. I know that am personally guilty of trying to do it all myself, and I have a hard time delegating or asking for help. I have always thought that if I asked for help, everyone would think I could not properly perform my job. I am learning, very slowly, to accept help when offered. I have come to realize that my coworkers are offering to help because the task before me is daunting and not because they think I am incapable. I am learning to say “Yes, thanks, I appreciate your help.”

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