One on tip-toe cannot stand.
One astride cannot walk.
One who displays himself does not shine.
One who justifies himself has no glory.
One who boasts of his own ability has no merit.
One who parades his own success will not endure.
In Tao these things are called “unwanted food and extraneous growths,”
Which are loathed by all things.
Hence, a man of Tao does not set his heart upon them.
This passage deals with ego and the need that some people have to seek validation from others. We all know people like this; those who go on about their glory days, trying to make themselves and their accomplishments seem greater than they actually are. And probably, we are all guilty of this to some extent. I would be disingenuous if I said that I had never put my achievements on display in order to gain acceptance or praise. But I recognize the danger in this. If we seek to define ourselves through the validation of others, then we are limiting our potential, because we are not being true to ourselves. We become more concerned about our appearances to others than about internal happiness and spiritual growth.
Humility is difficult, but it is a spiritual value. Today, I will try to be humble in my actions.
2 responses to ““Tao Teh Ching: Chapter 24” by Lao Tzu”
Thank you, Jeff. I always enjoy these Tao Teh Ching reflections! This one reminded me of a ‘warrior’s creed’ that I came across last night while reading a book (on rune history) – it’s online here http://www.servicespace.org/blog/view.php?id=1557.
Awesome! Glad you like them. Working right now (though taking a short break). I’ll definitely check out the link later. Cheers!