Holding to the Constant

Lao Tzu

Passages for Meditation

Break into the peace within,
Hold attention in stillness,
And in the world outside
You will ably master the ten thousand things.

All things rise and flourish
Then go back to their roots.
Seeing this return brings true rest,
Where you discover who you really are.
Knowing who you are, you will find the constant.
Those who lack harmony with the constant court danger,
But those who have it gain new vision.

They act with compassion;
Within themselves, they can find room for everything.
Having room, they rule themselves and lead others wisely.
Being wise, they live in accordance
With the nature of things.
Emptied of self and one with nature,
They become filled with the Tao.
The Tao endures forever.
For those who have attained harmony with the Tao
Will never lose it,
Even if their bodies die.

Lao Tzu (c. 604-531 BCE) was a legendary Chinese sage whose collection of verses, the Tao Te Ching, is the basis of Taoism. This passage is published in Easwaran’s spiritual anthologies, “God Makes the Rivers to Flow” and “Timeless Wisdom.”