What meaning does this verse hold for you?
This post is the third in a series of extracts from the Tao Te Ching.
Each post will present two translations of the same verse. Over time, translations will be drawn from a range of different publications.
The suggestion offered here, is not to focus on what is meant by the verse, but to listen to what is resonating in our hearts as we recite the words out loud.
Tao Te Ching
An Illustrated Journey
Stephen Mitchell 1999
Can you coax your mind from its wandering
and keep to the original oneness?
Can you let your body become
supple as a newborn child’s?
Can you cleanse your inner vision
until you see nothing but the light?
Can you love people and lead them
without imposing your will?
Can you deal with the most vital matters
by letting events take their course?
Can you step back from your own mind
and thus understand all things?
Giving birth and nourishing,
having without possessing,
acting with no expectations,
leading and not trying to control:
this is the supreme virtue.
The Living Dao:
The Art and Way of Living A Rich & Truthful Life
Lok Sang HO, 2002
Can you concentrate your mind and soul,
and not lapse a minute?
Can you keep your breath soft and smooth,
just as an infant would?
Can you cleanse the eye of your mind,
and keep it free from a speck of dust?
Can you love your citizens and govern your country,
selflessly and according to the Dao?
If you were asked to guard the Gate of Heaven,
would you be totally impartial?
Can you understand the four dimensions of the universe,
and be free from self-guided reasoning?
To give birth to life, and to nurture it,
yet claiming no ownership;
to act, yet without being arrogant;
to bring up life, yet not determining its destiny:
that is the Mystical Virtue.