Daily Tao, S. Mitchell Translation, Ch. 8 Excerpt Thursday, Jul 31 2008 

The supreme good is like water,
which nourishes all things without trying to.
It is content with the low places that people disdain.
Thus it is like the Tao.

In dwelling, live close to the ground.
In thinking, keep to the simple.
In conflict, be fair and generous.
In governing, don’t try to control.
In work, do what you enjoy.
In family life, be completely present.

When you are content to be simply yourself
and don’t compare or compete,
everybody will respect you.

Absolutely fantastic passage. Lao Tzu makes some direction here on ways to make life simpler. In particular, I find that being fair and generous in conflict is one of the most helpful things I’ve ever done, as well as being completely present in family life. Even if a few of these ultimatums seem to be unreachable for you, at least make the effort to begin; it’s a never-ending path. When you are satisfied with your self, you’ll never have to look for happiness in anything else.


Daily Tao, S. Mitchell Translation, Ch. 68 Excerpt Wednesday, Jul 30 2008 

The best athlete
wants his opponent at his best.
The best general
enters the mind of his enemy.
The best businessman
serves the communal good.
The best leader
follows the will of the people.

All of them embody
the virtue of non-competition.
Not that they don’t love to compete,
but they do it in the spirit of play.
In this they are like children
and in harmony with the Tao.

Children love to play. And, ironically, even though children seem to be wired to play, they’re the best learners in the world. The uninhibited, carefree nature of children, in a way, allows them to absorb their world through the medium of awe. Awe, to me, can be a powerful tool. When you fully sense the sublime organization of the world and accept it, there is only more to seek and little else to fear. Fear is rarely a characteristic attributed to children unless they feel a sense of abandonment–otherwise children generally feel content, and are able to accomplish many things effortlessly.



Daily Tao, S. Mitchell Translation, Ch. 12 Excerpt Tuesday, Jul 29 2008 

Colors blind the eye.
Sounds deafen the ear.
Flavors numb the taste.
Thoughts weaken the mind.
Desires wither the heart.

The Master observes the world
but trusts his inner vision.
He allows things to come and go.
His heart is open as the sky.

It’s amazing how modern science has portrayed the sense of sight. To Western Civilization, and most scientists, the world can only be accepted when it is seen to be “real.” What we are fast learning is that what we sense is not appearing how we once perceived it to be. On the atomic scale, amounts of what we would call “space” seem to be outstandingly more present than what we would call “stuff.” The amazing thing is, when you take a reductionist approach, that we are primarily just that: “space.” Perhaps this affirms some truth in the statements made by Lao Tzu, which were recorded long before the standardization of the Scientific Method. When you stop being controlled by external judgement and focus on yourself instead, perhaps the world will make even more “sense” than ever before. When we judge ourselves and not others, the world can then fall into place.



Daily Tao, S. Mitchell Translation, Ch. 72 Excerpt Monday, Jul 28 2008 

If you realize that all things change,
there is nothing you will try to hold on to.
If you aren’t afraid of dying,
there is nothing you can’t achieve.

Trying to control the future
is like trying to take the master carpenter’s place.
When you handle the master carpenter’s tools,
chances are that you’ll cut your hand.

This seems to remind me of candles. On the molecular level, the flame is changing so fast it burns our fingers to touch the flame for more than a split-second. The best way to put out a candle, to me, is to eliminate the oxygen that reacts with it. Fire is unlike other “elements,” because it is simply the effect of matter chemically changing in form. Fire is both amazingly beneficial and amazingly destructive.



Daily Tao, S. Mitchell Translation, Ch. 63 Excerpt Sunday, Jul 27 2008 

Act without doing;
work without effort.
Think of the small as large
and the few as many.
Confront the difficult
while it is still easy;
accomplish the great task
by a series of small acts.

Great Taoist wisdom. When we accomplish tasks as they arise, and do not ignore them, they always remain their smallest. Therefore, the most effective work is done as effortlessly as possible. This sort of work does not require work, and, in fact, is hurt by it. Realize your path and walk it.