The Tao (Mears)

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Bring soul and spirit into unity, they will become welded in the Inner Life. Conquer vital force until it yields to you, you will become as a new-born child. Purify the channels of deep perception, you will dwell safely in the Inner Life. Govern a kingdom by loving the people, they will learn to act from the Inner Life. Open and shut the doors of heaven, you will have repose of mind in active life. Let your purity shine forth in all directions, men will see that you have an Inner Life. Give it birth, nourish it, Give it birth, but do not seek to possess. Act but do not appropriate. Endure but do not rule. That is called profound Teh.


Thirty spokes surround one nave, the usefulness of the wheel is always in that empty innermost. You fashion clay to make a bowl, the usefulness of the bowl is always in that empty innermost. You cut out doors and windows to make a house, their usefulness to a house is always in their empty space. Therefore profit comes from external form, but usefulness comes from the empty innermost.


The five colours blind the eyes of man. The five musical notes deafen the ears of man. The five flavours dull the taste of man. Violent running and hunting disturb the emotions of man. Greed for rare objects is hurtful to the actions of man. That is why the self-controlled man occupies himself with the unseen, he does not occupy himself with the things visible, he puts away the latter and seeks the former.


Dread glory as you dread shame. Prize great calamity as you prize your body. What does this mean: "Dread glory as you dread shame"? Glory comes from below. Obtain it, you are afraid of shame; Lose it, you are still afraid of shame. That is why it is said; "Dread glory as you dread shame." What does this mean: "Prize great calamity as you prize your own body"? We who meet with great calamities, meet them because we have a body. If we had not a body what calamity could reach us? Therefore he who honours the kingdom as his body can govern the kingdom. He who loves the kingdom as his own body can be trusted with the kingdom.


Looking at it, you do not see it, you call it Invisible. Listening to it, you do not hear it, you call it Inaudible. Touching it, you do not grasp it, you call it Intangible. These three cannot be described, but they blend, and are One. Above, it is not bright; Below, it is not dim; Unceasingly, unceasingly, It cannot be called by a Name, It enters into Form, and returns into Spirit. That is why it is called Spiritual Form of Form, Spiritual Image of Image. That is why it is called vague and indeterminate. Meet it, you cannot see its beginning; Follow it, and you cannot see its end. Consider the Tao of Old in order to arrange affairs of Now. To be able to know the Life-Spring of Old is to give expression to the Thread of the Tao.


Of old, those who were leaders in good actions examined mysteries with deep penetration; searching deeply, they did not understand; even Masters did not understand; therefore their actions were void of strength. They were timid, as those who cross a torrent in winter; irresolute, as those who fear their neighbours; grave, as strangers before their host; they effaced themselves as ice that melts; they were rough as undressed wood, empty as a valley, confused as troubled water. Who is able by quietness to make pure the troubled heart? Who is able by repose to become conscious of Inner Life? He who safely maintains his consciousness of Life will find it to be inexhaustible. Therefore he will be able, though not faultless, to renew perfectness.


To arrive at ultimate quietness Steadfastly maintain repose. All creatures together have form; I see them return again to their root. The Master creatures come to perfect form, Continuously they return to their root. Continuous return to the root is called repose, Repose is called the law of return, The law of return is called eternity. To know eternity is called illumination. To ignore eternity is to draw misfortune on oneself, To know eternity is to be great of Soul, To be great of soul is to be a ruler, To be a ruler is to be greater than all, To be greater than all is to be conscious of Life, To be conscious of Life is to endure. The body shall disappear but not decay.

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