Tao Te Ching Day 41: War II

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I feel, as of late, that I am at war with myself all over again. My knowing self, my higher self understands what must be done to end the war. But my lower self, my animal self feels that it just needs to push harder. If only we keep going forward harder eventually our opponent will break.

It is incredible that I can still fool myself into underestimating my opponent (Life). That I am some how more capable than life.

“There is a saying in the army:

I do not presume to be the master, but become the guest.

I do not dare advance an inch, but retreat a foot.”

TTC 69 (Addiss & Lombardo)

Presuming to be the master means in a lot of ways that I am now calling the shots by which reality works. I presume myself to be the master and am shown that I am only a guest. Life has an incredible way of humbling me very expediently, while I am still with my head in Life’s proverbial refrigerator.

I forgot that I was only a guest so life reminds me and Lao Tzu says, “dude I left you instructions.”

I know, stupid me.

I must always be in the posture of stepping back to allow life never assuming that I may advance even an inch. When it is time to advance I will be moved. Again, I must humble myself, lest I get humbled.

I feel humbled. I am exhausted by my war strategy of PUSH, PUSH, PUSH!

I continue to be reminded that I do not have to struggle so much. I choose to struggle because it is what I am used to. But, damn I am sick of it.

“This is called moving without moving,

Rolling up sleeves without baring your arms,

Repelling without opposing,

Wielding without a weapon.”

TTC 69 (A&L)

When I allow myself to be the guest of a great power like life or any other force which we may face, I align myself with power and thus and given the gifts of that force without needing to lift a finger.

It is like riding the river, just let go and allow the force to move me without fighting it.

I wrongly assume my enemy to be life. I fight against it and struggle to bend it to my will when with clear eyes I can see that it was given to me as a gift and not as something to be overcome, bested or conquered.

“There is no disaster greater than contempt for the enemy.

Contempt for the enemy-

What a treasure is lost!”

TTC 69 (A&L)

All that is asked of me is to see my “enemy” as myself. Seeing my enemy as myself I realize we want the same thing. In understanding we want the same thing, I do not lose my greatest treasures, which are the ability to see things not as black and white or good and evil but as the Tao.

I can also see that what I struggle to control in my “enemy” is what I struggle to control in myself. What I fight against is not that which opposes me but that which lives in me that does not see the unity of all things.

In that way I am constantly gaining and losing vision. I wish I had the ability to see clearly always and not lose sight of this oneness but I do not.


When the fighting gets hot,

Those who grieve will conquer.”

TTC 69 (A&L)

This is also translated as “those who show compassion will win.”

Meaning we can lose a battle, lose ourselves but as long as we have the ability to see the death of what we believed existed and have compassion for its passing we can be born again to a new way of life. We can continue to flow on the journey as long as we are able to humble ourselves to the way things are.

Happy Day.


Published by Matthew Whiteside

I am a writer, a storyteller, a yarn-spinning freakazoid. My life is full of two things today, lessons and blessings. I write fiction mostly but I also love to write about my life and the things I go through on a daily basis. Writing it out inspires and motivates me and that's why I do it. Plus if it does that for me maybe it will for someone else too.

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