Tao Te Ching – Chapter 43

The most fluid and yielding substance
will flow past the most rigid with the speed of a racehorse.
That which does not hold a particular form
can enter even that which seems impenetrable.
This is why we practice,
“effortless effort.”
We act without ado.
We teach without arguments.

This is the way to true happiness,
but because people prefer distractions and noise,
it is not a popular way.



I seem to come across a “wu-wei” (effortless effort) chapter just when I need it. In response to change I have been developing a sort of stiffness of body and mind. Perhaps it is a protective strategy, armoring myself in the face of “threats.” I’ve been working hard around the 3 acres that are now our responsibility as caretakers. I’ve been planning tasks and going at them with a bit too much strain and effort.

I have to travel in the coming days to speak at an event on the coast. Travel has ceased to be enjoyable for me. I find refuge here in the mountains and my soul is gradually loosening the knots my mind has tied. But people have asked me to come, so I am going to go. I want to give when asked without attaching strings. So I will have to find a way to travel without tension and to be in a culture I feel is insane without losing my center. I will have to let go of all ideas of “form” – of who I am and what I like and don’t like. Then I can flow anywhere and remain happy.

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