63rd Verse of the Tao

Act without doing;
work without effort.
Think of the small as large
and the few as many.
Confront the difficult
while it is still easy;
accomplish the great task
by a series of small acts.

The Master never reaches for the great;
thus she achieves greatness.
When she runs into a difficulty,
she stops and gives herself to it.
She doesn’t cling to her own comfort;
thus problems are no problem for her.

This translation is attributed to Stephen Mitchell.   I’d like to hear what this verse means to other people.

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  1. Tom
    Posted January 21, 2010 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    act without doing, work without effort…

    to me, the author is trying to have the reader relate to the positive side of things.

    don't be overwhelmed, focus, and do what needs to be done.

  2. Chris Sarcletti
    Posted February 11, 2010 at 1:30 am | Permalink

    To me this means, take life as it comes. I somehow see a similarity to the John Lennon quote in some way, "Life is what happens to you while your making other plans."

  3. Byron Hoagland
    Posted July 20, 2010 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    this is perhaps my favorite verse. I think of the phrase,"How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time." This verse asks us however to enjoy and be thankful for each bite :). I've turned many life challenges and certain difficulties into enriching experiences by allowing, accepting and embracing "what is". In this Way, you don't move mountains, but you find they are moved anyway and placed exactly where they need to be…then you have a great view of the mountains, see?

    • sparagi
      Posted July 20, 2010 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for the excellent comment Byron.

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