DiscoverThe Tao Te Ching for Everyday LivingTao Te Ching Verse 76: Staying Compassionate
Tao Te Ching Verse 76: Staying Compassionate

Tao Te Ching Verse 76: Staying Compassionate

Update: 2021-03-05


Tao Te Ching Verse 76

translated by Xiaolin Yang

When people are alive, they are soft; when dead, they are hard.
When every living thing is alive, it is soft; when dead, it is hard.
So, the strong and hard have no vitality; the soft and weak have vitality.
Therefore, when an army is too strong and rigid, it will be extinguished;
when a tree is too stiff, it will break.
The strong and hard are inferior; the weak and soft are superior.

Photo by Faye Cornish on Unsplash

Practicing Refining that Energy

At home, I can see how my rigid attitudes do damage to my personal relationships.  We talked about this earlier in the episode.  There are so many little habits and emotional patterns and cycles that make up a relationship, will all people involved, not just me, so when I think about this I wonder where to start or what the point is.  I suppose the best thing I can do is to just take it a step at a time when it comes.  And by ‘it,’ I mean any time there is not harmony.  But instead of seeing annoyances or angry conversations as things to deal with, perhaps I can see them as opportunities to refine my energy!

So let’s think about our home lives and pick out a thing that someone does or an attitude they have or some things they’ve said that have pushed us out of our Tao-Bubble.  You know, that bubble where everything’s just fine and we’re content.

Let’s ask - what about this occurrence disturbed me?  How did it make me feel?  Did it make me feel embarrassed in any way?  Did it make me feel like things weren’t fair?  In a nutshell, did it make me feel like I needed to prove my self worth, or did it make me look weak to myself?

In this moment, we’re just looking at that Yin side of ourselves - we’re doing our best to identify the self-driven reasons why what occurred made us feel uncomfortable.

Now, let’s look at that Yang side of ourselves.  Let’s ask the question: how can I use this as an opportunity to create a new type of attitude?  Remembering that we’re wanting to stay soft and flexible: How can I identify where I’m inflexible and then consider a new point of view?  How can I consider taking contrary action within my self?  Can I compromise on an attitude while still honoring my inner self? 

This, no doubt, requires some practice and diligence.  And I’m not gonna lie, the only reason I do this is because Harmony with the Tao feels so much better than disharmony.  In other words, just being honest here, I don’t like it outside my Tao-Bubble, and I’ll do pretty much anything to get back inside.  I’ve found that this helps a lot.

Let’s have a quick look at work.  For me, the resonant theme is usually how what happens in my professional life affects my sense of accomplishment, my sense of usefulness and purpose, and my sense of financial well-being.  There are more but those are the main ones for now.

So when I feel agitated or worried, I can usually look to those things and ask which one it is.  Often, it’s a mix of them.

Once I identify what’s going on, I can either let it go because it’s just my ego doing its thing, or, I can delve deeper into it and locate a belief system that no longer works and just creates conflict.  Then, I can start a new focus. 









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Tao Te Ching Verse 76: Staying Compassionate

Tao Te Ching Verse 76: Staying Compassionate

Dan Casas-Murray