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Isabella Mears, 1916
Tao that can be expressed is not Everlasting Tao. The name that can be named is not the Everlasting Name. The Name, in its inner aspect, is Life-Spring of Heaven and Earth. The Name, in its outer aspect, is Mother of all created things. Therefore: To perceive the mystery of Life, desire always to reach the innermost. To perceive the limitations of things, desire always to posses them. These two aspects of Life are One. In their out-come they become different in Name but in their depth they are One. In a depth, still deeper yet, is the Door of many mysteries.
All men know the existence of beauty, Beauty, cleft asunder, is ugliness. All men know the existence of Love. Love, cleft asunder, is hatred. Therefore "possessions" and "Inner Life" interdepend in life. Difficult and easy interdepend in completeness. Long and short interdepend in form. High and low interdepend in alternation. Tone and voice interdepend in harmony. Before and after interdepend in sequence. That is why the self-controlled man makes it his business to dwell in the Inner Life; he teaches not by words, but by actions; he brings all beings into action, he does not refuse them; he gives them life, but does not possess them; he acts, but does not look for reward; he works out perfectness, but claims no credit. The Master, indeed, rests not on rewards. That is why he passes not away.
Exalt not men, so that the people may not fight. Prize not rare objects, so that the people may not steal. Look not on desirable things, so that the people's hearts be not troubled. That is why the self-controlled man governs by stilling the emotions, by quieting thought, by mastering the will, by increasing strength. He always teaches the people to know the Inner Life, to desire the Inner Life. He teaches the Masters of knowledge to cease from activity, to act through activity of the Inner Life; then Inner Life will govern all.
Tao is infinite. If we use It, we find It inexhaustible, Deep! It appears to be Ancestor of all things. It rounds our angles. It unravels our difficulties. It harmonizes our Light. It brings our atoms into Unity. Pure! It appears to be everlasting in principle. I do not know whose Son It is, It existed before God was manifest in Form.
Heaven and earth are impartial, they regard all creatures as sacred. The self-controlled man is impartial, he regards all people as sacred. The space between Heaven and Earth is like a bellows. Emptied, it loses not power, Moved, it sends forth more and more wind. Many words lead to exhaustion. Be not thus; keep to thy center.
The Spirit of the Valley dies not, it is called Mother-substance of the Deep. The Door of Mother-substance of the Deep is called the Root of Heaven and Earth. Continuously, continuously, It nourishes and preserves. Use it, Thy strength shall not fail.
Heaven and Earth can endure long. If Heaven and Earth endure long, It is because they do not live for self, Therefore they can long endure. That is why the self-controlled man puts himself last, Yet he is found in the foremost place. He regards his body as outside of himself, Yet his body is preserved. Is it not that his chief interest is in the Inner Life? Therefore he can perfect his chief interest.
Heavenly Love is like water. Water blesses all things, It does not hurt them. It loves the lowly place that men dislike, Therefore it comes very near to Tao. The Master loves to dwell upon the earth. In his heart he loves Infinity, In his benevolence he loves giving, In his words he loves sincerity, In his government he loves peace, In his business affairs he loves ability, In his movements he loves punctuality. The Master, indeed, does not fight, Therefore his Inner Life increases.
Let Heavenly Love fill you and overflow in you, Not according to your measure of fulness. Prove it, probe deeply into it, It shall not long withstand you. You may fill a place with gold and precious stones, You will not be able to guard them. You may be weighted with honours and become proud. Misfortune then will come to your Self. You may accomplish great deeds and acquire fame, Retire yourself; This is Heavenly Tao.