Chapter 2

If something looks beautiful to you,
something else must be ugly.
If something seems good,
something else must seem bad.

You can’t have
something without nothing.
If no job is difficult,
then no job is easy.
Some things are up high
because other things are down low.
You know you’re listening to music
because it doesn’t sound like noise.
All that came first,
so this must be next.

The Masters get the job done
without moving a muscle
and get their point across
without saying a word.

When things around them fall apart,
they stay cool.
They don’t own much,
but they use whatever’s at hand.
They do the work
without expecting any favors.
When they’re done,
they move on to the next job.
That’s why their work is so damn good.”

– Chapter 2
The Tao Te Ching
by Lao Tzu

As translated by Ron Hogan, 2002

 

As movement and progression leads into Chapter 2 of The Tao Te Ching – I sink into the translation by Ron Hogan. It resonates the deepest, but I appreciate how different each pair of eyes who undertake the immense task of translating this ancient text. Each translation unmasks a different tone, a different teaching – all rooting from the same words.

The Tao Te Ching, a 5,000 chinese character text speaks of the teachings of the Tao – “the way”. Mystery eludes this text; Attributed to Lao Tzu, “old master”, but some believe that it’s contents are a result of the work of many. It’s date of origin unknown, speculation of creation varying from the 4th to 6th BC. But enough about that- this journey is not intended as an article of history, for each nugget of “history” can be proved and disproved by multiple sources. There are those more qualified to educate you about the Tao. My intention is to weave my own understanding of the chapters, what it brings up in my internal world. An offering, a sharing of one imperfect human being trying to understand the chaos of the world around.

I look forward,
To the chapters ahead.
But remain open.
Clear of expectations,
Present to witness.
A student first,
An observer always.
The path, the way,
Go with the current,
Find ease.
It does exist.

Friends, may you have a wonderful conclusion of the week and east into the beginning of the next with presence and mindfulness. With love and admiration, of the world that surrounds you- even on the darkest day.

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