Great Abide: Tao Te Ching Chapter 10 (Amy Putkonen Version)

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Carrying your spirit
and your animal nature within,
can you keep them as one?

Can you nurture your life energy
to achieve the softness of a newborn?

Can you polish the mirror
of your deepest reflections
until you are without flaws?

Can you care lovingly
for your kingdom
while remaining unknown?

Can you stay receptive
to the life and death of all beings?

Can you remain innocent
in the light of pure awareness?

The sage nourishes and develops all things,
yet makes no claims;
Leads, yet does not control.

This is the profound mystery of Tao.

They say you can’t put toothpaste back in the tube. You can’t put time back in the clock, or un_see or un-learn. Life has its ravages and realities.

But then, why would you want to? The innocence of a baby is a beautiful thing, but vulnerable. Developing our character is a worthy thing, but unending. Polishing a mirror is well and good, but that only reveals more imperfection. The more aware and enlightened we become, the more innocence fades. The more life we live, the more foibles we find…but the more wisdom we gains. The sage knows that some artificial construct of perfection is unattainable. Perfection, instead, lies in the imperfection, in the way things are right now.

Think of the things you wish to accomplish. How do you feel?

Now think that things right now are all as they should be, right at this moment. How do you feel now?

It seems like a contradiction, but is part of the obvious and mysterious of the Tao.