Tao Te Ching – Chapter 78


This path seems paradoxical.
Like water, it is soft and yielding,
yet there is no better way to overcome the stiffness and rigidity that causes so much suffering.

We intuitively know that flexibility is more effective than stubbornness
and that tenderness is superior to hard-heartedness,
yet our conditioned habits keep us from acting on this knowledge.

By accepting all that seems humble and plain,
we become masters of every situation.
By opening our hearts
to all that seems painful and difficult,
we help end all suffering.
No wonder it seems paradoxical.


I suppose it is a basic fear that so often keeps me from tenderness and openness. Why else would I choose to remain rigid in the face of pain and discomfort? The power was off for a few minutes last night, a reminder that outages happen occasionally during the winter. It is always restored within a few hours and is not a real problem.

“But,” the voice of fear intones, “winter is coming and you can’t survive without power!”

Actually, I can. We have a generator. We can relocate for a few days if necessary. We have firewood. But I can feel the bracing in my body against possible discomfort. Perhaps I’ll just open my mind and my heart to the cold clean quality of winter and end my suffering about it. Perhaps the paradox, and all paradoxes, are resolved by an open heart,

2 thoughts on “Paradox”

  1. Thank You. I remember when my Mom died. I was there to watch the process. And she gave me such a gift because I saw that dying was really not so bad. It was the anticipation of what was going to happen that was so difficult. I agonized for months before the actual event. The not knowing and the visions of incoming disaster. And when it was all said and done, I realized and wished that I could have known that the death was really not so bad.
    We look forward to your posts everyday. They always give us something to talk about. And when you are sending them out, you have no way of knowing that they are being read. But you just keep on. Thank you.


  2. Thank you. I’m getting to the end of this round. (81 chapters). Then I’ll take a break for a bit – maybe write some on my other blog post.


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