#51: The power of quiet confidence
Tao Te Ching on second bests, being quiet, and acting simply
Hello, beautiful readers!
What a holy week this has been. Between Ramadan, Easter, and Passover - auspiciousness filled the air.
I love how all three religious holidays fell on the same week. Although I am Jewish, I deeply respect all religions. Religion is, broadly speaking, good. Through shared stories and teachings, religion teaches us about the goodness in the world and in each other.
This week, I have continued to read a text that feels like a religious teaching, although it’s not. Ursula Le Guin’s interpretation of the Tao Te Ching is one of those books that you can open at any time of the day, to any page, and get a breadth of wisdom and insight.
2,5000 years later, the teachings of The Way in the Tao Te Ching continue to feel prescient, powerful, and wholesome.
The Tao Te Ching is full of goodness. Reading the teachings is reminiscent to returning to our natural state of good.
Here are three short teachings/poems that left me feeling awe-struck. I hope you enjoy them, and I wish you a blessed weekend.
In the degradation of the great way come benevolence and righteousness.
With the exaltation of learning and prudence comes immense hypocrisy.
The disordered family is full of dutiful children and parents.
The disordered society is full of loyal patriots.
Brim-fill the bowl, it'll spill over.
Keep sharpening the blade, you'll soon blunt it.
Nobody can protect a house full of gold and jade.
Wealth, status, pride, are their own ruin.
To do good, work well, and lie low is the way of the blessing.
True leaders are hardly known to their followers.
Next after them are the leaders the people know and admire; after them, those they fear; after them, those they despise.
To give no trust is to get no trust.
When the work's done right, with no fuss or boasting, ordinary people say, Oh, we did it.
Author’s note: This invisible leader, who gets things done in such a way that people think they did it all themselves, isn't one who manipulates others from behind the scenes; just the opposite. Again, it’s a matter of “doing without doing”: uncompetitive, unworried, trustful accomplishment, power that is not force. An example or analogy might be a very good teacher, or the truest voice in a group of singers.