Friday Abide: Chapter 3 (Putkonen)

If this is your first time reading a “Friday Abide” post, please see the introduction  HERE


Placing one woman above another
encourages competition.
Collecting rare things causes theft.
Openly displaying valuable possessions
causes desire and disturbs the mind.

The sage eases people’s hearts
by reinforcing one’s true center,
Weakening ambition
And strengthening character.

The sage encourages people to live simply
without desire and to support each other.
By practicing non-action and non-doing,
All will be at peace.

Think of the phrase “it’s all good”. Competition has its place, but it shouldn’t be our over-riding motivation. The key to this chapter is “practicing non-action and non-doing”. Leave out those things and what you have left is simply BEing. Just be who you are, be your genuine authentic self, without comparing yourself to others or competing with others, then it is easier to be at peace with yourself. Allow others to BE as they are without judgement or undue expectations, and it is easier to be at peace with them as well. The Taoist sage’s frame of mind is very egalitarian.

This idea is unfamiliar and odd to many of us. Our culture is very competition and achievement orient. It runs the gambit from “keeping up with the Jones'” on a shallow, superficial, materialistic realm, to a more character-building “be all you can be” kind of focus. And that is OK. A little competition and self-improvement, and good old ‘lifting yourself up by your own bootstraps’ is an OK thing…it lifts and elevates us all. Like most things, when you look at them from the balanced view of Taoism, comes when something is taken to an extreme. When things get cut-throat and some are degraded and ignored at the expense of those deemed “successful” then things are out of balance and wrong.

It’s all good.