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The Beauty Of The Tao Te Ching Verse 12

Living with the Tao Te Ching in ordinary life.

Verse 12

Colours blind the eye.

Sounds deafen the ear.

Flavours numb the taste.

Thoughts weaken the mind.

Desires wither the heart.

The Master observes the world

but trusts his inner vision.

He allows things to come and go.

His heart is open as the sky.


This verse speaks to me about 'being in the world but not of it'. That is, experiencing the fullness of the world via the mind, body and senses but not getting lost in the sensuality of it.

We tend to get seduced by the outer experience because it is so intoxicating and so consuming, that is what it is there to demonstrate. But, a Master is one who can experience the outer world but always uses it as a means to refer himself back to his inner world.

The outside world, in all its complexity, is a world of desire, greed, and grasping. We are always looking for more, better, best. There is always something that appears to be better just over the horizon and we spend an enormous amount of energy chasing after it. When we get what we want we are delighted, but only momentarily. When we don't get what we want we become depressed and angry.

The Master doesn't grasp, he allows the moment to unfold perfectly, just as it is, and by doing so his heart is always open and his mind clear. He has dropped all expectations and desires.

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