All men will come to him
who keeps to the one.
They flock to him and receive no harm,
for in him they find peace, security, and happiness.
Music and dining are passing pleasures,
yet they cause people to stop.
How bland and insipid are the things of this world
when one compares them to the Tao!
When you look for it, there is nothing to see.
When you listen for it, there is nothing to hear.
When you use it, it cannot be exhausted.
Imagine you are eating the cake in the picture displayed above. Or, if cake is not your thing, imagine partaking in whatever you really enjoy, crave for when you don’t have it, and feel satisfied and happy when you do.
Close your eyes and pretend as if you are enjoying it right now. Imagine how that makes you feel. Happy, satisfied, content, excited, complete, etc.
Now you have enjoyed it and it is gone. Now what?
Do you find yourself wishing there was more, or envisioning the next opportunity to partake in it or are you looking for the next thing that will satisfy some other desire? Do you long for that thing or eventually find yourself craving it and attempting to find a way to get it again?
Decadence is a sure sign of the reliance on material things to bring pleasure and happiness. Be aware that this reliance is a downward descent into suffering.
Decadence [dek-uh-duhns] – unrestrained or excessive self-indulgence.
Worldly pleasures come and go and do not last. Because the things that we really enjoy are only temporary, we develop cravings for them. (More about cravings in the post for Verse 29). Craving lead to addictions, diseases, health concerns and other forms of mental and physical suffering.
That is the point of this verse. Pleasures in the physical world are passing and attachment to them leads to suffering. Compare this to the beauty, magnificence and expansiveness of the Tao (the source of all life).
The person that puts emphasis on a connection with the Tao instead of blindly searching for worldly pleasures will be more at peace, be secure in who they are and have greater and more stable happiness. People will be drawn to this person because they will feel “peace, security, and happiness” when they are in this person’s company.
This does not mean that you should not enjoy worldly pleasures. By all means engage in those things that you enjoy. The key is to not put so much value on them that they become a source of suffering when they are not available to you.
Recognize that the bliss that you feel when you are enjoying something does not come from that thing. It comes from within you. It comes from the source of all things…the Tao.