Veganity and Tao Te Ching: Verse 8

Just as brief aside, I’m getting a tiny bit worried about my veganism. The lifestyle is surprisingly easy to maintain when I have such inspirations as my good friends Rach and Aaron, and of course my darling Bethwyn (whose diet is gluten and dairy-free). It helps of course that Bethwyn rarely eats food that I can’t have, so we usually enjoy our meals together. After weeks/months of discipline, I no longer particularly feel the craving for chocolate or chips. My snacks now are mostly whatever’s lying around, but I’d like to start eating more fruit. My weight dropped a fair bit over the first few months (lost about a kilo a fortnight at first, then about a kilo a month) but now I seem to have stabilised at about 58kg’s. I saw my doctor after being vegan for three months, but he didn’t think it was worth investigating just yet since my energy levels were fine and I seemed healthy enough. But lately my energy levels have been a bit lower than ordinary- the past three or four days I’ve set my alarm for 8.5 hours sleep, but when morning comes round I turn it off and sleep and extra hour. It’s a little concerning, but I’m going to give it another week or so to see if it’s due to my increased levels of exercise, the weather or some other external factor. If it’s dietary, well, I guess I can compromise and eat animal products/animals to stay healthy. We’ll see!

Now, for the Tao Te Ching… Oh, and just as another aside, Tao is pronounced more like “Dao”- an alternate spelling of “Tao Te Ching” is “Daodejing”. Just in case you were, like me, calling it “Taoism” all this time.

Verse 8 [original]

The supreme good is like water,
which nourishes all things without trying to.
It flows to low places loathed by all men.
Therefore it is like the Tao.

Live in accordance with the nature of things.
In dwelling, be close to the land.
In meditation, go deep in the heart.
In dealing with others, be gentle and kind.
Stand by your word.
Govern with equity.
Be timely in choosing the right moment.

One who lives in accordance with nature
does not go against the way of things.
He moves in harmony with the present moment,
always knowing the truth of just what to do.

Verse 8 [my interpretation]

The Tao is like water:
It is flowing, gentle, transformative, nourishing and life-sustaining.
It does not withhold itself from those it deems unworthy
but gives freely of itself to all creation.
And when it gives, it is not destroyed, but transformed.
All of this it does not because it wants to,
but because it is its nature.

Always live according to the nature of things:
there is little to gain from struggling against the Way of the world.

Live a simple life, close to the land
so that one can always be reminded that one is part of the natural world.
Be gentle and kind.
Keep your word.
Treat others fairly.
Choose the right moment.
Remember who you are, what you are, and rejoice!

By being presently harmonious with nature,
one will understand nature, and thus the Tao.
In understanding the Tao,
one will always know just what to do.

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