Thoughtful people hear about the Way
and try hard to follow it.
Ordinary people hear about the Way
and wander onto it and off it.
Thoughtless people hear about the Way
and make jokes about it.
It wouldn’t be the Way
if there weren’t jokes about it.
So they say:
The Way’s brightness looks like darkness;
advancing on the Way feels like retreating;
the plain Way seems hard going.
The height of power seems a valley;
the amplest power seems not enough;
the firmest power seems feeble.
Perfect whiteness looks dirty.
The pure and simple looks chaotic.
The great square has no corners.
The great vessel is never finished.
The great tone is barely heard.
The great thought can’t be thought.
The Way is hidden
in its namelessness.
But only the Way
begins, sustains, fulfills.
It’s easy to mock those who follow the Way. It’s easy to mock those who take the Tao Te Ching seriously, rather than as a collection of esoteric nonsense!
Mockery doesn’t matter and it shouldn’t change you. I mean, it will change you to a degree, but the goal, I think, is to ignore it, because mocking something doesn’t make it less valuable, less true. This can be said for whatever you believe in.
Mockery is a very small thing. It’s easy to ignore once you realize how little someone else’s opinion matters. Because those who care about you are not the ones who mock what you care about. And those who don’t care about you aren’t worth listening to, because why would you care what they think?
The Tao calls to all of us and asks us to consider the world and who we are. When we do this, many will find it silly, foolish, obscure, meaningless. And that’s fine. If they thought differently, they might be standing beside you on the way. So let people think what they want and persist.
Hope you’re all having a good Sunday.