Tao Te Ching – Chapter 79


Resentment always leads
to more resentment.
Only contentment leads
to contentment.
Therefore we do not seek advantage or control.
Our contentment is independent of the actions of others.
Seeking a special position is not the way of life.

There are no “special favorites” along this path.
It unfolds itself before whoever walks along it.


I am conditioned to feel content only when I have my ducks in a row. This, of course, requires constant effort and is ultimately a futile endeavor. Ducks never stay in a row for long. Therefore what culture calls contentment is a fragile demanding thing, never staying long yet insisting that it be pursued.

I will sit in the evening sipping a scotch and give a large sigh of contentment. Terrified, my conditioned mind goes quickly to work lest it lose control. It subtly whispers some common theme, like: “Money’s getting low. What are you going to do? …” The whisper could be about money, health, weather, society – whatever will hook my and drag me away from my natural contentment.

I’ve gotten pretty good at avoiding this hook, but occasionally I’ll bite. Usually I shake loose before too long. I’m no longer trying to be anyone special. I’m not looking for a special position. I am just walking along whatever path opens to me. Next step: Coffee.

One thought on “Content”

  1. Ah…contentment…so satisfying…so elusive. This post speaks to me personally damnit! Thanks for such a good reminder. Getting those ducks in line seems to be futile.


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