strong within, gentle without

shaun tan

 

True joy is

experienced by those who

are strong within and

gentle without.

 
The hexagram Tui teaches us how to come into possession of joy. In our search for success and happiness we are prone to think that we must take aggressive actions to achieve them. The instruction of the I Ching is just the opposite: only those who practice innocence, acceptance, and detachment inherit true joy in this world.

We often see around us how forcible effort brings about what appears to be progress. Our egos tempt us to believe that these gains are lasting and valuable, but the truth is otherwise. Whatever is won by the desirous, ambitious, demanding manipulations of the ego will soon be lost. Others can always be temporarily browbeaten into doing things our way, but only hearts won by friendliness and sincere goodwill are true over time.

The I Ching teaches us again and again that joy and success cannot be forced or stolen. They are achieved gradually—but steadily—by those who relate correctly to others and to the Higher Power. To relate correctly means to steadfastly practice innocence, detachment, acceptance, modesty, and gentleness. Life is full of shortcuts, but this is the only route that leads to true joy.

The image of the hexagram is that of two lakes joined together to keep from drying up. It is an encouragement to us to join with like-minded friends now in the discussion and contemplation of higher things. If we engage in an ongoing conversation about proper principles with our friends, our relationship to truth is steady and our ego cannot seduce us into the doubt, fear, and anxiety that lead away from joy.

In your heart, be firm in holding to what is good and honest and correct. In your thoughts and actions, be gentle and accepting. Those who persevere on this path will meet with true joy and lasting success.
 

from The I Ching, or Book of Changes

Hexagram 58, Tui / The Joyous

 

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accept everything that is


 

Enlightenment

comes only when you accept

everything that is — without resistance,

without quarrel, in complete stillness. This is

the only, the simplest, the necessary

ground of being for complete

realization.

 

The opportunity

to dwell in quiet acceptance

exists in every moment — sitting, bathing,

cleaning, cooking, working, wherever.

When that moment passes,

it is present in the next.

Just embrace

it.

 

Wei wu Wei Ching, Chapter 2

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one with the mother

 

In

governing people

and serving heaven, there

is nothing better than moderation. 

To be moderate is to follow Tao without straying. 

To follow Tao without straying is to become filled with

good energy. To be filled with good energy is to

overcome all things. To overcome all things

is to know that all things are possible. 

She who knows that all things are

possible is fit to govern

people. 

 

Because

she is one with the mother, 

her roots go deep, her foundation

stands firm, her life lasts

long, her vision

endures.

 

from The Tao te Ching of Lao Tzu,

Chapter 59


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the best effort one can make

 

The best effort

one can make is the

gentlest effort: wei wu wei.

Quietly, persistently direct the

mind toward emptiness. When

all thoughts and ideas have

dissipated, then make no

further effort. Just

breathe.

 

This is the only

practice required of a

human, the best one, the one

that perfectly purifies

our lives.

 

Wei wu Wei Ching, Chapter 9

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