Sunday, March 31, 2013

Understanding Lao Tzu's Do Nothing Approach
Lao Tzu
In our required text we've read some interesting advice from Lao Tzu, book 38 in Tao Te Ching: do nothing but leave nothing undone. Well, this paradox intrigues me. How is that even possible? If I lie around and sleep will my paper, portfolio and seminar questions get done?

The Master doesn't try to be powerful;
thus he is truly powerful.
The ordinary man keeps reaching for power;
thus he never has enough.

The Master does nothing,
yet he leaves nothing undone.
The ordinary man is always doing things,
yet many more are left to be done.

The kind man does something,
yet something remains undone.
The just man does something,
and leaves many things to be done.
The moral man does something,
and when no one responds
he rolls up his sleeves and uses force.

When the Tao is lost, there is goodness.
When goodness is lost, there is morality.
When morality is lost, there is ritual.
Ritual is the husk of true faith,
the beginning of chaos.

Therefore the Master concerns himself
with the depths and not the surface,
with the fruit and not the flower.
He has no will of his own.
He dwells in reality,
and lets all illusions go.

I practiced my own version of doing nothing for quite awhile these last few weeks. In part it's exhaustion, in part it's lack of interest and in still another part it's facing the obligation I committed myself to two and a half years ago to finish what I started despite everything in me screaming not to do it.  Over the weeks of doing nothing I've come to realize I needed to get quiet, press the unimportant to the peripherals and tackle only those things which advance my path. Doing nothing outside of this preferred path is a concept I now understand but have yet to fully implement.

No comments:

Post a Comment