Tao te Ching

Verses and discussions regarding Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching.

69th Verse Tao Te Ching

69th Verse Tao Te Ching

69th Verse

There is a saying among soldiers:
I dare not make the first move
but would rather play the guest;
I dare not advance an inch
but would rather withdraw a foot.

This is called
going forward without advancing,
pushing back without using weapons.

There is no greater misfortune
than feeling “I have an enemy”;
for when “I” and “enemy” exist together,
there is no room left for my treasure.

Thus, when two opponents meet,
the one without an enemy
will surely triumph.

When armies are evenly matched,
the one with compassion wins.

When I read this verse of the Tao Te Ching I imagine an internal battle.  Some would call it the enemy within.  In this verse Lao Tzu speaks of “when two opponents meet, the one without the enemy will surely triumph”.  This couldn’t be more true when we look at self-doubt and self-criticism.

This self-criticism comes about from how you view yourself and how you react to others.  If you are feeling that you are not worthy or that you are being judged by another, that is the enemy within.  To be at odds with oneself creates the battle of who you really are vs who your ego tries to convince you that you’re not.

“When armies are evenly matched, the one with compassion wins”.  This line is powerful in that it shows you the path to confront this internal struggle.  When you are feeling self-doubt, judgement, uncertainty go to place of opposite feeling to confront this struggle.  Compassion for yourself which is self-love will bring you back in sync with who you are.

Self-love allows you to do as he describes – “going forward without advancing, pushing back without using weapons”.  Self-love is the treaty to end the battle we struggle with internally.


27th Verse Tao Te Ching

27th Verse Tao Te Ching


27th Verse

“A knower of the truth
travels without leaving a trace,
speaks without causing harm,
gives without keeping an account.
The door he shuts, though having no lock,
cannot be opened.
The knot he ties, though using no cord,
cannot be undone.

Be wise and help all beings impartially,
abandoning none.
Waste no opportunities.
This is called following the light.

What is a good man but a bad man’s teacher?
What is a bad man but a good man’s job?”

If the teacher is not respected
and the student not cared for,
confusion will arise, however clever one is.
This is the great secret.”

In this verse, we become aware of how our actions affect others without our acknowledgement of our actions.  Lao Tzu speaks of traveling without leaving a trace and giving without keeping an account.  How often do we want to be applauded for our good deeds?  The most effective teachers are not ones who stand on a pedestal and demand recognition.  They are the ones who influence because of their subtlety.


When living your life in this way, one does not choose who they teach and who they interact with. Every situation good or bad has a way of improving not just the person you are helping but also your life.  Like the puzzle above each block maintains the whole structure.  One block doesn’t stand out because it is more important.  They all work together equally to achieve the same goal.  When you are following your own light that light will bring you into many situations that you wouldn’t have chosen consciously.


To really be effective in impacting others respecting every person and situation as equals will bring clarity to them and to yourself.  Follow your light and reveal the great secret that is your truth.





Knowledge vs Wisdom 33rd Verse of the Tao Te Ching

Knowledge vs Wisdom 33rd Verse of the Tao Te Ching


33rd Verse

One who understands others has knowledge;
one who understands himself has wisdom.
Mastering others requires force;
mastering the self needs strength.

If you realize that you have enough, you are truly rich.

One who gives himself to his position surely lives long.
One who gives himself to the Tao
surely lives forever.

Knowledge vs Wisdom is knowing vs experiencing.  When you learn something that someone else has created you are allowing knowledge.  When you have experienced something and it has shaped your life, that is wisdom.

Wisdom is never forced it is something that you allow from an experience in your life.  Lao-tzu speaks of “If you realize that you have enough, you are truly rich”.  This is a place many try to get to in their lives.  When you start looking inside yourself and start to see that you have everything to live a joyous happy life you will be truly rich.  When you understand your true self which never worries or doubts you will see you have everything to be fulfilled.  Your true self has all the tools to heal the past and create an abundant present.

He finishes off the verse with the idea of living forever once you have given into your position.  By giving in you are allowing your true self to surface which is divine and eternal.  You are not a moment in time or an ending being.  When you live your life from that higher place you will see that believing in yourself allows you to see that forever is possible beyond what you define a life to be.

Tao Te Ching 58th Verse

Tao Te Ching 58th Verse


58th Verse
When the ruler knows his own heart,
the people are simple and pure.
When he meddles with their lives,
they become restless and disturbed.

Bad fortune is what good fortune leans on;
good fortune is what bad fortune hides in.
Who knows the ultimate end of this process?
Is there no norm of right?
Yet what is normal soon becomes abnormal;
peoples’s confusion is indeed long-standing.

Thus the master is content to serve as an example
and not to impose his will.
He is pointed but does not pierce;
he straightens but does not disrupt;
he illuminates but does not dazzle.

This verse Lao-tzu is showing us the importance of how we perceive situations and people in our lives and how we react to them.  “When the ruler knows his own heart, the people are simple and pure”.  This is because when you are connected to your true self and know yourself, you aren’t directing those beliefs onto other people.

You can be pointed but no pierce, illuminated but not dazzling.  When you follow your beliefs and what guides your life there is no need to dazzle for everyone to see and agree with that belief.  Your thoughts and beliefs are shaped by who you are, experiences around you and the thoughts in your mind.

That view of the world can change at any given time just as fortune or bad fortune can.  Think about a situation in your life where everything seems to be going bad.  As you attract more of those thoughts of misfortune the more you attract.  That streak of bad situations can easily change as can your view of why its happening or why it won’t happen.

“People’s confusion is indeed long-standing”.  Interesting how bad situations linger longer than good ones do.  You imposing your belief on someone else will be remembered longer than a good deed you did for that same person.

Live your life and follow the direction it is meant to flow.  Follow your beliefs without ego and people with similar beliefs will gravitate to your confidence and your good will without you deliberately showcasing the way you think they should think.


Tao Te Ching: 6th Verse

Tao Te Ching: 6th Verse


6th Verse

The spirit that never dies
is called the mysterious feminine.
Although she becomes the whole universe,
her immaculate purity is never lost.
Although she assumes countless forms,
her true identity remains intact.

The gateway to the mysterious female
is called the root of creation.

Listen to her voice,
hear it echo through creation.
Without fail, she reveals her presence.
Without fail, she brings us to our own perfection.
Although it is invisible, it endures;
it will never end.

This verse of the Tao Te Ching speaks of that thing not seen but that is felt, the gift of creation.  Creation can be mother nature acting out on it’s own or your own creational drive within you which is your passion.  Passion is felt when you are connected to your true self and to your Source.

Even though it is available to all, it’s uniqueness is always available to each individual that accepts its presence.  The way it flows in our life is also unique to each person and can come out in art, your career or in the way you interact with other people.

Lao-tzu speaks of listening to her voice and hearing her echo.  When you listen and trust your intuition she will then reveal her presence.  This is often seen when you trust in yourself and are certain of your choices.  When this happens everything falls into place as it should.  Although it is invisible, it endurance shows us that even if we lose track of our passion and our own creative talents, it is always available to us when we are ready to receive it’s purpose.

71st Verse Tao Te Ching

71st Verse Tao Te Ching


71st Verse

Knowing ignorance is strength.
Ignoring knowledge is sickness.

Only when we are sick of our sickness
shall we cease to be sick.
The sage is not sick but is sick of sickness;
this is the secret of health.

Health is not just a physical condition it is also a state of mind.  One could have physical illness but not be sick because they do not allow themselves to be consumed by their condition.  When you become sick of sickness and you are aligned with your Source you never can be truly sick.

To become sick of sickness you get to a point where you can never go back to that way of thinking or allowing sickness to overcome you.  Sickness can be anxiety, depression, a disease but you always have the choice on how you deal with any of these temporary conditions.

Spiritual health is about aligning your body, mind and inner self.  Choose to be happy, choose to be healthy and mentally choose to be strong.

Tao Te Ching 25th Verse

Tao Te Ching 25th Verse


25th Verse

There was something formless and perfect
before the universe was born.
It is serene. Empty.
Solitary. Unchanging.
Infinite. Eternally present.
It is the Mother of the universe.
For lack of a better name,
I call it the Tao.

I call it great.
Great is boundless;
boundless is eternally flowing;
ever flowing, it is constantly returning.

Therefore, the Way is great,
heaven is great,
earth is great,
people are great.

Thus, to know humanity,
understand earth.
To know earth,
understand heaven.
To know heaven,
understand the Way.
To know the Way,
understand the great within yourself.

This verse goes to your connection to everything and your connection to yourself.  To understand yourself you can go back to what is everything around us.  See yourself in nature, in other people, see your true self.  The essence that is the Tao, the universe, your Source.  The Source is pure positive energy and greatness.

Just as Source is great and we are physical extensions of that energy than that must mean we in turn are great.  This verse encourages you to see the potential and beauty that is you and if you can accept that, you can use that perspective to relate to others and to Source.

Find what makes you unique and great and meditate on the idea that you have everything you need within yourself already.


13th Verse Tao Te Ching

13th Verse Tao Te Ching


Favor and disgrace seem alarming.
High status greatly afflicts your person.

Why are favor and disgrace alarming?
Seeking favor is degrading:
alarming when it is gotten,
alarming when it is lost.

Why does high status greatly afflict your person?
The reason we have a lot of trouble
is that we have selves.
If we had no selves,
What trouble would we have?

Man’s true self is eternal,
yet he thinks, I am this body and will soon die.
If we have no body, what calamities can we have?
One who sees himself as everything
is fit to be guardian of the world.
One who loves himself as everyone
is fit to be teacher of the world.

What is your true nature without outside influences?  We often are told to ignore the criticism but flattery can be just as damaging.  Approval becomes a dependent need that you aren’t yourself unless you have that approval.

Others view of you are just their opinions and thoughts that have formed.  They do not make you who you are at your highest level.  Just as your thoughts of another doesn’t define their true identity.  Knowing this if you live your life as everything and as everyone free of opinion including your own egos you are fit to teach the world.



10th Verse Tao Te Ching

10th Verse Tao Te Ching


Carrying body and soul
and embracing the one,can you avoid separation?

Can you let your body become
as supple as a newborn child’s?In the opening and shutting of heaven’s gate,
can you play the feminine part?

Can you love your people
and govern your domain
without self-importance?

Giving birth and nourishing;
having, yet not possessing;working, yet not taking credit;
leading without controlling or dominating.

One who heeds this power
brings the Tao to this very earth.
This is the primal virtue.

This verse talks about seeing yourself in everyone.  Specially if you feel you are judging them.  Feeling the oneness in all your encounters opens you up to see a different perspective than you would if you separate yourself from others.

This separation goes beyond just people but also your possessions.  Taking pleasure in your possessions without becoming attached to them.  At the end of the day you own no one and nothing.  Everything in life is flowing and changing.  These possessions don’t define you just as a person does not make you who you are.

Allow yourself to observe and be happy with your “things” and the people in your life.  Living in the present knowing that life is change and evolution.

Practice separating the duality and be one with all things and people.

1st Verse Tao Te Ching

1st Verse Tao Te Ching


1st Verse

The Tao that can be told
is not the eternal Tao.
The name that can be named
is not the eternal name.

The Tao is both named and nameless.
As nameless it is the origin of all things;
as named it is the Mother of 10,000 things.

Ever desireless, one can see the mystery;
ever desiring, one sees only the manifestations.
And the mystery itself is the doorway to all understanding.

This 1st verse which introduced me to the Tao Te Ching talks a lot about thinking from both perspectives.  Everything in life has an opposite be it light and dark, good and bad, happy or sad.  One perspective is not better as both are needed and compliment each other.

Often we go through life naming and labeling people, places and things.  It reminds me of a line from Romeo and Juliet:

“What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet”

By labeling a rose as a rose it is then defined and can not be anything beyond that name.  A flower that is a rose that you smell, touch, see and experience becomes something much greater than what most would describe a rose as being.

In life we often miss the mystery and magic of what is already in our lives.  We desire more money, love, success, fame yet we miss the blessings that have already been showered upon us.  When following the Tao try and open your mind to the words being more than what you see with your eyes.  Experience the verses and feel the energy they offer.