by no means

Return is how the Way moves.
Weakness is how the Way works.

Heaven and earth and the ten thousand things.
are born of being.
Being is born of nothing.

Lao Tzu
Ursula K Le Guin’s version

A short but very hazy poem. The statements are very definitive and open no argument, but their meaning is…slippery.

These poems–I often have little to say about them. Little commentary to offer. That doesn’t make them less important, but I think it makes them less intellectual for me. More instinctual or emotional. Being is born of nothing is a powerful statement, though I can’t really put my finger on what it means to me, but I sometimes wonder if my attachment to absence, nothingness, voids, comes from these simple sort of lines from the Tao Te Ching.

Existence comes from nothingness. Life comes from existence.

The Way is in all things, causes and resolves all things. Its weakness is not a physical weakness or even a weakness of spirit. It’s weak in the way water is weak, always falling, flowing. Always returning to its source to flow again, perhaps in a new way.

As you see, I started at the bottom of the poem and worked back up towards the top, and I think that’s a useful way to go about a lot of Lao Tzu’s image constructions. He often builds images from the top down, so it’s actually easier to understand if you read it backwards, or visualize it backwards, anyrate.

Something to consider for the day.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s