By inaction one can become the center of thought, the focus of responsibility, the arbiter of wisdom. Full allowance must be made for others, while remaining unmoved oneself. There must be a thorough compliance with divine principles, without any manifestation thereof. All of which may be summed up in the one word “passivity.” For the perfect man employs his mind as a mirror. It grasps nothing: it refuses nothing. It receives, but does not keep. And thus he can triumph over matter, without injury to himself.
—Zhuangzi (Chuang Tzŭ), from Lionel Giles’ Musings of a Chinese Mystic
The idea behind the Taoist sage’s language is appealing, but I’m not sure I fully grasp its meaning — or that I fully buy into it. Perhaps someone could help me better comprehend it?
To me, this reads as an injunction not to DWELL. Receive life, take it all in, and let it go - don’t fixate, don’t cling, don’t clutch. Receive, appreciate, and know that no moment is the same as the next, and that no amount of striving will change that fact. In terms of relationships, I hear it as “know who you are, make room for others to be different than you, and accept that there will always be difference.”
And all of the above is far easier said, or nattered about, than done.
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