Tao Te Ching – Chapter 69


Military strategists agree.
They would rather defend
than make a foolish attack.
They would rather consolidate than overextend.

So we move forward
without conquering anyone.
We gain without anyone losing.
We confront obstacles
without using weapons.

We call no one enemy,
for to call someone enemy
is to lose our inner unity.
We become divided against ourselves
and everyone suffers.

When conflict arises
we refuse to separate ourselves.
This is how we remain at peace.


A very important chapter for our divided culture. It goes in a dangerous circle, it seems. We are divided within ourselves so we see the world through that divided lens – friend and enemy. The more we see the world that way, the more fragmented within we become and the outer world fragments even more.

The climate crisis comes to mind. I understand the science involved in the crisis and can hardly believe the denial that permeates leadership. However, making these people my enemy solves nothing. It only continues the polarization and divides me inside myself, leading to internal angry conversations. If I don’t divide myself by the too-easy act of blaming, I can see my way more clearly today. How do I consolidate my energy into helpful action? How do I continue to take individual steps toward solutions? How do I communicate with others, as friend to friend, my feelings?

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