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Tag Archives: Tao Te Ching

The Lessons of Water

David Wagoner wrote this wonderful poem that encourages us to watch nature and learn from it. Regardless of one’s faith, we receive gifts that act as teachers for our living.

When we watch water, we can see and hear its story and that can guide our behaviours. Nature is not separate from us, but a part of us that was shared with us so we might care for it and pass it on to the next generations.

The best way to conduct oneself may be observed in the behavior of water. —Tao te ching

When given a place to wait, it fills that place
By taking the shape of what contains it,
Its upper surface poised and level,
Absorbing, accepting what it can as lightly
Or heavily as it does itself. If pressed
Down, it will offer back in all directions
Everything it was given. If chilled, it will shatter
Daylight and whiten to stars, will harden and sharpen
And turn unforseeably dazzling. Neglected,
It will disappear, being transformed and lifted
Into thin air. Or thrown away, it will gather
With other water, which is all one water,
And rise and fall, regather and go on rising
And falling the more quickly its path descends
And the more slowly as it wears that path away,
To be left awhile, to stir for the moon, to wait
For the wind to begin again.

Tao Te Ching #33

I was busy today and am off to a dinner meeting momentarily. I took a deep breath and remembered to breathe. I attended Teacher’s Convention which is unique to Alberta, for the most part. The Alberta Teacher’s Association, our professional organization/union, organizes several each year depending on geographic locations. There is a large exhibit hall and many presentations. I find it challenging as it is busy, crowded, and noisy, but there was a great presentation and another good one. The first presenter spoke on a topic similar to what I am massaging for a dissertation topic and, when I approached her, she graciously agreed to share more of her thoughts and I will contact her. She was genuinely interested and I am pretty jacked.

I also found a nice little restaurant. It wasn’t lost, but I had never been there before and it was a nice place. I finished the book I am reading while I ate lunch. I could have focused on the challenges–noise, crowds, and busyness–instead I pulled three great things out of the day and feel energized. I found this beautiful little poem by Lao Tzu and it resonated. When we turn in and find the extraordinary of the ordinary that is true power.

Knowing others is wisdom;
Knowing the self is enlightment.
Mastering others requires force;
Mastering the self needs strength.

He who knows he has enough is rich.
Perseverance is a sign of will power.
He who stays where he is endures.
To die but not to perish is to be eternally present.

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