8th Verse – Get your life in a flow

Shoreline Break

The supreme good is like water,
which nourishes all things without trying to.
It flows to low places loathed by all men.
Therefore, it is like the Tao.

Live in accordance with the nature of things.
In dwelling, be close to the land.
In meditation, go deep in the heart.
In dealing with others, be gentle and kind.
Stand by your word.
Govern with equity.
Be timely in choosing the right moment.

One who lives in accordance with nature
does not go against the way of things.
He moves in harmony with the present moment,
always knowing the truth of just what to do.

Similar to the 3rd verse, this verse refers to being instead of doing. Doing is fighting against what is in accordance with the natural flow of things. Being is acting in a way that is congruent with the natural flow and with your true self.

The Universe, if you pay attention and stop trying to control it, has its own natural flow. It is just like being caught in the undertow of the ocean. If you fight against the flow of the water, you are going to struggle and eventually wear yourself out and quite possible drown in the process. If instead you allow the flow of the water to take you in its natural direction, you will at first go in a direction opposite of what you intended, but you will still get to the safety of the beach and will do so in a much less strenuous manner.

This is a metaphor for life. If you ignore the natural direction of your life and your true purpose, you will continue to wear yourself out mentally, physically, and spiritually. If instead you allow yourself to be taken in the natural direction you were intended, you will experience life without the constant struggle to control it.

This concept reminds me of the idea behind the book Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. Flow is that feeling you get when you are totally in tune with what you are doing and the hours seem to slip by as you are entranced by the activity you are involved in. Mihaly was involved in a great deal of research in this area and in determining what conditions make people feel the powerful effect of flow.

“We can focus consciousness on the tasks of everyday life in the knowledge that when we act in the fullness of the flow experience, we are also building a bridge to the future of the universe”. – From Finding Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

If you are living “…in accordance with nature” and “not [going] against the way of things”, you will experience this phenomenon much more often. You will be moving “…in harmony with the present moment”.

Here are some links to more information about Flow:
Psychology Today
Janna Jung Claus


One thought on “8th Verse – Get your life in a flow

  1. Pingback: 37th Verse – Do Nothing; Leave Nothing Undone « AlongtheTao

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