staying on the way

In looking after your life and following the way,
gather spirit.
Gather spirit early,
and so redouble power,
and so become invulnerable.

Invulnerable, unlimited,
you can do what you like with material things.
But only if you hold to the Mother of things
will you do it for long.
Have deep roots, a strong trunk.
Live long by looking long.

Lao Tzu
Ursula K Le Guin’s version

In a sense, Lao Tzu is saying that once you’re firmly entrenched in the Tao, little will be able to knock you off the way or lead you astray. You can go out and live without worry so much about the Tao, because the Tao has become deeply a part of you. Almost like a habit, but stronger.

You will live a long and happy life when you follow the way, when you hold to the Tao. And little will disturb you or discomfort you as you travel through life.

It’s a beautiful and simple idea.