Thought for the Day

Wednesday 16 September

The best, like water,
Benefit all and do not compete.
They dwell in lowly spots that everyone else scorns.
Putting others before themselves,
They find themselves in the foremost place
And come very near to the Tao.

— Lao Tzu

Eknath Easwaran's Commentary

In today’s competitive climate, often those who are aggressive about imposing their will on others are labeled “successful.” But the accomplishments of such people are often sadly short-lived, while the damage they do themselves and others can be far-reaching. When competitiveness is excessive, we end up offending others, feeling offended, and lashing back, and that undoes everything worthwhile we might achieve.

People who do not compete, on the other hand, seldom get upset when life goes against them. They do not try to impose their way on others, or get agitated or depressed or defensive when people hold different views.

Gandhi was an excellent example of this. It is said that he was at his best when he was criticized; it made him even more respectful and compassionate, and made him reach deeper into himself to find new ways of explaining his stand.

The Thought for the Day is today's entry from Eknath Easwaran's Words to Live By.