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Tag Archives: Lao Tzu

Tolerance and Flexibility

Despite the weather, we had a great day. Many students do not attend Fridays. In past years, we attended every second Monday. Our administration changed that this year without consulting parents or me. I struggled with it for several months and made a dramatic shift a couple of months ago. I decided to devote Fridays to art i.e. drawing, painting, and building. I am not an artist in that sense, but was able to get access to resources from a friend who is an artist and an excellent teacher. The students enjoy the change. We built kites today and I felt a positive and life-giving energy in the room. I thought of this poem by Lao Tzu.

Living humans are soft and limber.

Dead they are hard and rigid.

Living, the 10, 000 grasses and wood species are soft and crisp.

So “hard” and “rigid” accompany death.

“Soft” and “limber” accompany life.

So if armies are coercive, they do not triumph.

When wood is strong, the axe comes out.

Strength and dominance reside below.

The soft and limber belong higher.

The Uses of Not

I wrote about paradox in Warrior’s Quest and part of the motivating force was this poem. It takes real courage to accept paradox and hold the tension. The hole in the whole completes the whole.

Thirty spokes

meet in the hub.

Where the wheel isn’t

is where it’s useful.

Hollowed out,

clay makes the pot.

Where the pot’s not

is where it’s useful.

Cut doors and windows

to make a room.

Where the room isn’t

there’s room for you.

So the profit in what is

is in the use of what isn’t.

Lao Tzu

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