Every Tuesday, Amy Putkonin posts a chapter from her version of the Tao Te Ching and invites other bloggers to comment. I highly recommend her blog, her version of the Tao Te Ching, and her collection of commentary. Please visit www.taotechingdaily.com to learn more.
To know one’s strength, stay passive.
Be a valley beneath Heaven.
Constant virtue never diminishing,
The eternal river returns again to one’s childlike innocence.
Know your purity,
But stay open to your darkness.
Be a pattern for the world, ancient virtue never failing,
Returns to a place of unlimited perfection.
Know your glory,
But maintain humility.
Become a valley below Heaven.
The world’s valley – always virtuous,
Returns to the simplicity of uncarved wood.
Carved wood becomes useful tools.
Great leaders use the tools without carving the wood.
The first part of this chapter, as I see it, resonates with the Socratic axiom of “know thyself” coupled with the idea of quiet confidence. Which comes right back around to the Taoist treasure of authenticity. Be who you really are, in your totality, both purity and darkness. When we relax and realize ‘it is what it is’, an open, accepting childlike appreciation of the world can return…the water returns to the valley.
Maybe Popeye the cartoon was a Taoist…”I am what I am”. Just as an uncarved block of wood is what it is, without apology, without aspiration…yet full of potential.
True that the wood block can be formed into many things, but the better way of leadership is to accept people for who they are (even if they are humble blocks of wood) and do nothing to diminish their potential, and allow them to become what they will, as they will. This is something that is very much a part of a Tarot reader’s and Reiki practitioner’s path. It isn’t for us to force our idea of good, right, health or healing on other people. It isn’t for us to carve the wood block. We use our tools to honor their path and help them along it…not to define that path for them. We use our tools without carving the block.