Tao Te Ching – Chapter 67
No one sees anything special about this path.
Yet it is because it appears ordinary that it remains wondrous.
No one has been able to market it.
No one has trivialized it.
There are three virtues inherent in this path:
compassion, simplicity, and patience.
Wherever there is compassion fear does not abide.
Wherever there is simplicity,
Wherever there is patience,
all things are accomplished.
If we try to be fearless
and do not have compassion,
we become ruthless.
If we try to be generous
and do not have simplicity,
we become controlling.
If we try to accomplish things
and do not have patience,
we become failures.
Of these three qualities, patience catches my attention this morning. It is impatience in the little things that gets me into trouble. When a task doesn’t go smoothly, an impatience arises that tries to force things to fit. You know the result: broken pieces and a trip to the hardware store.
I am amazed at how this impatience crops up so quickly into a seemingly serene spirit. I’m going along fine, then a snag… and wham! Impatience takes over and governs my action. As I watch this process carefully, I catch a subtle little voice at the onset. It tries hard to hide itself, but I’m beginning to catch it at work. The moment the opportunity arises, it starts in: “You idiot! You should have anticipated this. You have no skills at all. You are pretty much useless or you’d do this smoothly…”
No wonder things begin to fall apart. What a relief it is to stop, breathe, step back and let my true nature flow back in. “No problem,” it says. “Relax my friend,” it says. Sometimes it sings and sounds like Simon and Garfunkel, “Slow down, you’re goin’ too fast. Got to make the moment last… feeling groovy!”