Tao Te Ching Day 56: All Things Pass

Favor and disgrace make one fearful

The greatest misfortune is the self

What does “favor and disgrace make one fearful” mean?

Favor is high; disgrace is low

Having it makes one fearful

Losing it makes one fearful

This is “favor and disgrace make one fearful”

TTC 13 (Lin)

I see the deceit in the many things produced by life. The lies that are told without words or intentions. I see them as they tell me they are more than me.

The value in all those things that lay outside of myself are without names, but they are everything that is named. The 10,000 things, as the Tao Te Ching calls them.

How can I place more value on them than on myself? I think little of me and much of them. I am insignificant, and they are with great significance—the many, the anything other than me. Yet, I can only see myself concerning them. I can only see my meager way in light of their greatness. My self-delusion blinds me. I think of me too much and we too little.

Think of the person you love the most in the world. Think of the thing that holds the most significant value to you, that if you lost it, you would lose yourself. Or the person or thing that you would do anything for, even die.

Can you see this person or thing? This is our disorder, our sickness.

We see that there are so many things in this world we love so much we would spend our lives in a broken crawl towards them, and only for the hope to get closer, not even to have.

Because we never really Have anything. We fantasize that we do, but we don’t; that kind of longing for a person or thing only means that it has us and that we are empty because we spent a lifetime making a space for it.

Because we value anything above OurSelf, we will never have anything.

What does “the greatest misfortune is the self” mean?

The reason I have great misfortune

Is that I have the self

If I have no self

What misfortune do I have?

TTC 13 (Lin)

This then is what Lao Tzu means, we do not value ourselves as much as we value the world, so we lose constantly, always in loss we think we don’t deserve, but only because we chase things outside of ourselves.

Our chasing the world around us is a sign to “Life” that we do not value ourselves, so the Universe, in turn, does not match great value with little value. We tell the Universe every day what we are worth, by what we chase.

Are you chasing a certain amount of money? Well then, here is your worth. Are you pursuing a particular person? Well then here are the people that also see you as unworthy.

Noone dictates our worth but us, we set the price, and many of us find ourselves disgusted for what we sell ourselves for, I included.

How could I think of myself so little? Am I not worth more than chasing material wealth? Or superficiality? What am I worth? Do I even know?

I see Chapter 13 in a brand new light today, as today has shown me that all things pass, all of life moves on. My suffering comes from holding to finite things that exist outside of me and to which I name and give value. If I did not value things, then I would not have such suffering.

Yet, I do value things, and I value myself, so the only thing then to do is to love myself on equal footing to everything outside of me. Not to hold positions for things greater or lesser to me, but to see all things as equal.

It is the only reprieve from the suffering of this condition. And to see myself as equal, I have to accept myself with the truth. Which is that we are all created from the same source, and not a single one of us exists separate from the other, so to hold me in any other regard is to disregard the truth.

“So one who values the self as the world

Can be given the world

One who loves the self as the world

Can be entrusted with the world”

TTC 13 (Lin)

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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