The heavens are one, and clear, and round because of it
The earth is one, and is its firm infused foundation . . .
The spirit force is one, with all it brings into being –
The valley is a oneness, and so it flows and renews all things,
Everything is one – every living thing is one, and alive!
Kinds and lords are one in a kingdom that is one:
And they can only rule truly because of the One.
If Heaven wasn’t clear, then the sky would fall down.
If the earth cannot be peaceful, it will tear itself apart.
If the Spirit cannot bless, then no one will believe in it –
If the valley can’t rebirth, then the valley will run dry.
If life can’t be itself, then life will be nothing:
And if the king is nothing, then the world will be at war.
Everything has both yin and yang in it –
and from their rise-and-fall-coupling comes new life.
The highest authority needs the basement as its base,
And the depths are the foundation of the heights.
That is why rulers call themselves lonely,
like souls in a wilderness who have no home.
And, in doing so, don’t they see then
that their roots lie with the people?
To see yourself as extraordinary
is to stand out like jade among ordinary stones;
but what people ignore – the lonely, and the worthless
is the rock a true leader finds himself on.
You see, you win by losing – and you lose by succeeding.
Support Authors: Man-Ho Kwok, Martin Palmer, and Jay Ramsay
Get your copy of this Translation here:
The Illustrated Tao Te Ching