Tao Te Ching – Chapter 2

Beauty cannot exist
without ugliness.
Virtue cannot exist
without vice.
Living, we know death.
Struggling, we know ease.
Rising high, we know the depths.
Being quiet, we understand noise.

Everything gives rise to its opposite,
therefore we work without conscious effort,
and teach without agenda.
We enjoy everything
and possess nothing.
Our accomplishments
do not emerge from our ego
so we do not cling to them.
Thus they benefit all beings.


Life is flux. Everything is always changing into something else. It seems so solid and real, but that is just the way my mind (which is also always changing) constructs the data from my perceptive organs. I will likely awake tomorrow morning in the same bed in which I fell asleep. But everything will be different. Millions of cells in my body will have died and been replaced. I will have dreamed and the neuron networks in my brain will have shifted. Mount Shasta, that Queen of Mountains near my home, will look the same but it will not be the same. Snow will have melted. Winds will have shifted soil and plant matter. Plants will have died and seeds will have germinated. Birds and animals will have eaten seeds, insects, and each other. This process is happening in every micro-instant of the process of life.

The “me” that writes … this word… if different from the “me” that writes… this word. A deep understanding of this truth helps me not fall victim to clinging. Everything, my “self” included, is the River of Tao flowing and cannot be grasped. This is a frightening, yet freeing, realization. I don’t have to hold on to any of it, my “self” included.

Can I let that awareness affect my moods and actions today?

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