power of the heavy

Heavy is the root of light.
Still is the master of moving.

So wise souls make their daily march
with the heavy baggage wagon.

Only when safe
in a solid, quiet house
do they lay care aside,

How can a lord of ten thousand chariots
let his own person
weigh less in the balance than his land?
Lightness will lose him his foundation,
movement will lose him his mastery.

Lao Tzu
Ursula K Le Guin’s version

Taoism can be thought of as a dualistic philosophy, but I think it’s very much a reminder of materialism. In this poem, the baggage we all carry is the physical needs of our body. Or even the history of our life.

To leave it all behind, to try to become a purely spiritual entity is to leave half of us to dust. It makes no sense and is impossible. Whether we like it or not, we are our bodies and our bodies are us. So to act as if it doesn’t matter–as most dualism teaches or demands–is to lose so much of life.

The Tao asks us to understand and accept ourselves, and then to follow. Life is heavy. Pretending it is light doesn’t get you anywhere. It will only weigh you down, leave you disconnected from essential aspects of yourself.

Look at your past and your needs and understand them. Accept them. Embrace them.

Then move forward, carrying it all with you, knowing the importance of each moment, but being unburdened by them.

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