Tao Tuesday – Chapter 42

Doing something every single day out of mild interest or a sense of “should” is a daunting, dragging, ponderous project. Once a week, however, is an easy delight. Amy Putkonin’s Tao Tuesday posts are one of those weekly delights. Each Tuesday she posts a chapter of her version of the Tao Te Ching, and invites readers to post a commentary on the chapter, link to her post, and read her commentary, and explore the links to reader commentary as well. Want to participate? Read the chapter, write a post, link to http://taotechingdaily.com/tao-tuesdays-chapter-42/ and then put a link to your post on that page. 

Chapter 42

Tao produces the one,
One produces two,
Two produces three,
And three produces Ten Thousand Things.

All things suffer the negative and embrace the positive.
The union of these is to achieve harmony.

People detest being alone and unworthy,
yet kings and leaders will describe themselves as such.

Sometimes we win when it appears we’ve lost,
and sometimes we lose when it appears we’ve won.

What others learn, I also learn.
Violent people die violently.

By understanding this, I receive my greatest teaching.

This chapter is probably one of the best known from the Tao Te Ching. It hints at two important notions. We are all a connected one-ness, that sprang from the same ultimate source, The Tao. Then it introduces the idea of yin and yang, “the two”, and how so very much in life can be understood in terms of relationship, proportion, balance of opposites – of yin and yang. Tao gives us yin/yang, yin/yang gives us a way to look at life, and in that yin-yang looking we in turn see everything…easy as one, two, three.

After walking us through the one, two, three of it, Lao Tzu takes us back to the beginning, to the root of it all, and back to the first and most important point: one-ness.

“We’re all in this together” – Disney’s High School Musical

“Valor Morgholis” (all men must die) – George R.R. Martin

“We are made of star stuff” – Carl Sagan

There are common denominators that unite us all, no matter what race, creed, social class or life experience…we are all in the boat of humanity together. We are all made of the same star stuff. All of our lives are impermanent. Paupers and Kings all suffer illness, uncertainty, the full range of human emotions, all the same. Heartache is heartache. Joy is joy.

Human experience too, breaks down into different aspects in our four-dimensional physical lifetime. We all learn…but we learn different lessons, have different experiences along the way, some pleasant, some not. Like attracts like, some things are different proportions of yin and yang becoming something else still. The one becomes two becomes three and in turn becomes all things…all our varied life experiences, all the different lessons life can teach.

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