Sunday, 15 January 2012

Verse 49


The Master has no fixed mind;
she understands the mind of the people.

She treats those who are good with goodness.
She also treats those who are bad with goodness
because goodness is the nature of her being.

She is kind to the kind.
She is also kind to the unkind
because kindness is the nature of her being.

She trusts people who are trustworthy.
She also trusts people who are not trustworthy.
This is how she gains true trust.

The Master lives in harmony with all below heaven.
Her mind is like space.
People don’t understand her.
They look to her and wait.
She sees everything as her own self;
she loves everyone as her own child.

This verse challenges us to change the way we relate to the world and other people. It’s easy to be nice to people that are nice to us, to repay kindness to people that are kind to us and to trust those we deem worthy of our trust.

But the Master, who lives in complete alignment with the Tao, does not discriminate or differentiate between ‘good’ and ‘bad’. The Master treats all with love, kindness and compassion regardless of who they are and how they conduct themselves. In fact, the people that are most dysfunctional in their behaviour are usually the people that are most in need of our love and kindness.

Shifting to this mindset can pose a real challenge, for it might seem only ‘normal’ to reward kindness with kindness and repay hostility with hostility. The Master, however, shines upon everyone in much the same way as the sun does. The sun shares its light with everyone and never discriminates or judges who it deems to be worthy of receiving sunlight and who it ought to withhold light from. It just shines and shines, never holding back, for that is its nature.

Can we be like that? Some people will gratefully receive our light and will be appreciative and kind, whereas others might react in a less than gracious manner. Is it possible for us simply to love, accept and be good to everyone regardless of how ‘worthy’ or ‘unworthy’ they might appear?

This brings to mind one of my favourite quotes by Hafiz:

“Even after all this time, the sun never says to the Earth “you owe me”. Look what happens with a love like that: it lights up the whole sky.”

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