Tao Te Ching Verse 63: Baby steps

In a change of pace, I’ve decided to refer to a verse by part of its message to make it easier to find in the future. We often think life is too difficult, its challenges are too great and its pain is too unbearable. These are all judgements that we place on our circumstances. But in actuality, when you say “I can’t bear it anymore!”, that is untrue: you’re bearing it right now. What you can’t bear is the idea that you’ll have to continue in the same circumstances for ‘x’ amount of time. But right here, right now, you are coping. If you stop worrying about the future and focus on the present, any obstacle becomes easier. So stop worrying about what you’re going to do in five years time, stop worrying about next month’s itinerary, stop worrying about the events later in your day. All of them will come around in their own good time, and you will often discover that when they do, there was nothing to worry about in the first place. In this way, completing a university degree, getting some exercise, writing a novel all become easy: just focus on starting/continuing, and don’t concern yourself with finishing. You’ll get there when you get there.


Verse 63 [my interpretion]

Practice non-action;
Be without effort, work without striving.
Focus your attention to enjoy the small, the bland, the few.
Respond to bitterness with love.
See simplicity in the complicated.
Achieve greatness in the little things.

Take on challenges while they are still easy.
The wise person does not attempt to do anything big,
and thus accomplishes much by piecing together the little things.
(It is better to enjoy small successes than big failures.)

If you surrender too readily,
you will not be trusted.
(If you give up when things are difficult,
no one will consider you responsible.)
(If you never stand up for your own beliefs,
no one will put their faith in you.)

When the wise person confronts difficulty,
they never experience it.
(When fear knocks at the door,
answer and you will find that no one is there.)


One thought on “Tao Te Ching Verse 63: Baby steps

  1. […] similar to the verse on baby steps, this verse is a powerful reminder not to care too much about what needs to be done, but to draw […]

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