Monday, September 26, 2011

The Tao of Non-Resistance

The spiritual path is a path of non-resistance - i.e., a way of accepting what is. In electronics, a resistor heats up, and if it isn't cooled off it is liable to burn out and fail. A conductor, on the other hand, allows the current to flow through it. The best conductors are those that exhibit the least resistance. The sage allows circumstances to flow in, around, and through him and, in turn, flows through life without resistance. That, the following suggests, is the secret of acting in accordance with the Tao.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

      Act through nonaction.
      Handle affairs through noninterference,
      Taste what has no taste,
      Regard the small as great, the few as many,
      Repay resentment with integrity.

      Undertake difficult tasks
            by approaching what is easy in them;
      Do great deeds
            by focusing on their minute aspects.

      All difficulties under heaven arise from what is easy,
      All great things under heaven arise from what is minute.

For this reason,
      The sage never strives to do what is great.
       He can achieve greatness.

      One who lightly assents
            will seldom be believed;
      One who thinks everything is easy
            will encounter much difficulty.

For this reason,
      Even the sage considers things difficult.
      In the end he is without difficulty.

[Lao Tzu, "Tao Te Ching," Victor H.  Mair trans., p. 33.]

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