Tao Te Ching – Chapter 32
What we have been calling Tao really has no name.
Naming something, we think we understand it.
What we call Tao is far too subtle for that.
We experience it in our own true nature.
If we can keep to our own true nature,
all external and internal strife falls away.
Peace descends on our lives
like a gentle rain from Heaven.
Joy flows from the Earth
like a mighty river.
There is no need to urge ourselves to do good.
Goodness is our heart’s true nature.
The more we use words,
the more distinctions we make.
The more distinctions we make,
the more we suffer.
When we stop taking distinctions seriously,
we cease to suffer.
We return to peace
just as streams and rivers
return to the ocean.
The divisions within our society have grown so momentous that we seem to have little time for seeking our “true nature.” We are too busy defending or attacking. To back away from the constant conflict and find a deeper reflection on life appears dangerous. “They” might continue to do their evil deeds unless we are hyper-vigilant. Every word and micro-action becomes a distinction to be labeled either “good” or “bad.” This continual parsing of life into labels will never bring us peace.
I have come to believe that the only way to work for peace and justice is to diligently work at discovering and remaining true to my own inherent nature. It is not a narcissistic fantasy to assume that only when I am at peace will I be able to contribute to peace. Only when I experience light will I radiate light. Everything that is dysfunctional about humanity right now has, at one time or another, been inside my own head. As that mess gradually becomes clear and I gain a new perspective on my fears, judgments, angers, and resistances, I begin to see how the Tao can naturally flow within me – and within you, my friends. Then we become part of the River of Justice without resistance or moral effort.