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  • Writer's pictureMetta

Tao Te Ching: A Book About the Way and the Power of the Way

I've read the Tao Te ching: A Book About the Way and the Power of Way by Lao Tzu, translated by Ursula K. LeGuin from cover to cover. This is just a post about some of the themes I saw coming up again and again throughout the text.

A note though: this is my interpretation, what I gained from reading the material. Therefore this is being filtered through my positionality, as someone from a colonized place, and being of colonizer ancestry. Nor am I a scholar that has spent time doing translations or comparing translations. I did want to, for myself, put together a summary of themes as the text is rich and varied and apart from pretty much just sharing every single chapter, I needed to also have some kind of summary as I continue to compare this wisdom and writing to the Art of War.

  • Themes:

    • Naming: how naming and identifying can lead to loss of understanding and loss of clear observation

    • The criticality of the whole and avoiding steps that remove that deeper connection to wholeness

    • Less talking, identifying/naming, more listening (this includes even within my own head to myself)

    • Doing without effort where possible, minimizing efforting

    • Doing things with care to the self - you are included in the wholeness, and must be for the wholeness to remain whole

    • Looking to nature: the flow of water and how nature operates

    • Where can there be effective emptiness and non action?

    • Trying to "have" in however that manifests, goes the wrong direction: favor, blame, riches beauty, wherever the needing to "have" (including what you don't want to have)

    • Attachment to ego and efficacy of not centering the ego

    • But also sanctity of the self (13)

    • Eyes on the horizon - know what endures (16)

    • The invisible leader - it's not about you even though you are personally invested

    • Community and ancestors

    • Focus on what is eternal

    • Knowing but not broadcasting

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