Tao Te Ching – Chapter 20
We always strive to make the right choice;
and always fear the wrong choice.
We pursue what others say is good.
and avoid what others say is bad.
How sad this is for us!
People are constantly stirred up, like children at a circus;
always looking for the next act to entertain them.
But this practice asks us to remain undisturbed,
and watch all things with the detached interest of a newborn.

In a culture where excess accumulation is the norm,
this path seems idiotic.
Fearful voices in our mind warn us
that we will end up wandering the street,
homeless and alone.
We are urged to be clever and successful and always in control.
But this practice asks us to relinquish the illusion of control
and to be content with whatever comes our way.

This seems so strange
and different from the usual way.
But it is the Way of Life Itself.


One of the reasons we, as a culture, are so poor at making choices is that we are always stirred up and presented with a plethora of options, A through Z, none of which actually speaks to our most authentic desires. I watch the way my mind cultivates a stir, a disturbance, in order to keep it active in the manner to which it has been conditioned.

To be undisturbed, this mind tells me, is to be uncaring. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Only the undisturbed mind is able to care about something other than itself. The majority of what my conditioned mind calls caring is built around its desire for control; the need to make the world into its own image and thus insure its safety. Authentic caring must be dispassionate enough to see clearly and not be captured by ego images of what “should be” in any particular situation.

There are several situations in my life at the moment that “should be” different. Certainly the world situation “should be” much different. The question I want to explore this morning is: how can I see all of this through a clear glass rather than one smudged by my ego’s needs?

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