Friday, November 25, 2011

This old thing:

All Roads
from Tao te Ching
October 15, 2007

Darkness within darkness, it is the source of mystery.
It is the gateway of understanding. It resides in all.
It is the Tao, unnamed, the way of practicing eternity.
You cannot reach for it in the heavens. You must fall.

Close your mouth, blunt your edges, untie your knots.
Desire nothing and demand nothing. Be at peace.
Stay serenely in yourself. Set free all your thoughts.
And let them lead you where they will. All things at ease.

Make use of what the world offers. Dance to the beat.
Do not search for success. Do neither hope nor fear.
An opportunity for change is hidden in each defeat.
The simplest pattern is the one most clear.

Be soft and supple, dark and dull. Yield and return.
Be the center of the circle. Be the waves of the sea.
Follow no road and at every single step, unlearn.
Do well what you need to do and then let it be.

Settle your dust. Be an open sky, a flying lark.
Be enough. Do neither compare nor compete.
Be as aimless as the wind. Be the dark within the dark.
A journey of a thousand miles is at your feet.

For all that it is written in rhyme, I don't consider this a poem at all. I like the images in it, but they're a little incomprehensible. Like the Tao. I wrote it out of a desire to live by the Tao, and to try to understand how you can do that. I like rereading this, but at the end, I still don't get how you can do so. Maybe because it is so at odds with the Western notion of pushing yourself, of pushing for your dreams.

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