Tao Te Ching: Verse 20

Reading today’s verse, I realise that in many ways I am like a hermit on the mountain top: I have practically no responsibilities or earthly distractions at this stage in my life, and I am more fortunate than most in this regard as it  gives me the freedom to pursue my personal growth. I wish that everyone had the same opportunity (or indeed, chose to take advantage of the opportunities that already exist) so that the world might be bettered for it.


Verse 20 [original]

Give up learning and you will be free
from all your cares.
What is the difference between yes and no?
What is the difference between good and evil?

Must I fear what others fear?
Should I fear desolation
when there is abundance?
Should I fear darkness
when that light is shining everywhere?

In spring, some go to the park and climb the terrace,
but I alone am drifting, not knowing where I am.
Like a newborn babe before it learns to smile,
I am alone, without a place to go. 

Most people have too much;
I alone seem to be missing something.
Mine is indeed the mind of an ignoramus
in its unadulterated simplicity.
I am but a guest in this world.
While others rush about to get things done,
I accept what is offered.
I alone seem foolish,
earning little, spending less.

Other people strive for fame;
I avoid the limelight,
preferring to be left alone.
Indeed, I seem like an idiot:
no mind, no worries.

I drift like a wave on the ocean.
I blow as aimless at the wind.

All men settle down in their grooves;
I alone am stubborn and remain outside.
But wherein I am most different from others is
in knowing to take sustenance from the great Mother!


Verse 20 [my interpretation]

Give up learning
and you will be free from all your cares. 
What is the difference between yin and yang?
[Highly paradoxical and controversial ideas which confuse me.]

Do not let the ignorance of others colour your own knowing.
Enjoy what is, here and now,
rather than what is not.
Do not strive to be elsewhere;
be present as the current of life carries you. 

Most people have too much
yet want to be and possess even more.
It is better to live simply, to think simple, to be simply.

The foolish cannot understand the wise;
the sage may be misunderstood, even ostracised.
But the greater difference between the two
is that the wise man knows the Tao. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s