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Go With The Flow - The Tao of Water

by Leslie Gabriel August 15, 2014

Chapter 8 (Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu)

The supreme good is like water, which nourishes all things without trying to.
It flows to low places loathed by all men.
Therefore, it is like the Tao.
Live in accordance with the nature of things.
In dwelling, be close to the land.
In meditation, go deep in the heart.
In dealing with others, be gentle and kind.
In speech, be true.
In ruling be just.
In action, watch the timing
No fight: No blame
One who lives in accordance with nature does not go against the way of things.
He moves in harmony with the present moment, always knowing the truth of just what to do.

Taoism often compares the Tao to water. In fact, water is a common symbol in much of Asian philosophy. While different translations of the Tao offer minor differences in the text, the truth of this remains: in order to be one with the Tao you must be like water.

Water accepts all, it never resists. It benefits all without judgment. It is close to the Tao. It does not err because it does not contend. It has the ability to sustain life, to cleanse and we are weightless in it. It is gentle yet it can erode rock and change the course of rivers. 

Water is a type and shadow of the cycle of the Tao. As rain it originates from the Tao. On the earth it is the embodiment of the lessons of the Tao. It gives without being asked and acts with no action. In the end as it evaporates it is taken back into the Tao to begin the cycle again.

Water has no ego. Ego takes you away from the Tao. When you are like water, you are centered and your life is ordered, but most of all you are free. When you are in your ego your life veers astray. Water flows downward, but ego seeks to elevate self. Water is flexible, moving around obstacles while ego tries to tear them down.

Imagine a life lived as the Tao describes. Imagine your life, free from ego, free from struggle. You move like water, flowing downward the way the current takes you. Instead of going against your nature where there is strife and suffering you go with it, flowing through the high places as well as the low ones, unafraid and relaxed, free from the struggle that the ever gnawing ego binds us all to. Free to follow the flux and flow of life, like water. What a life that would be.


Leslie Gabriel
Leslie Gabriel


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