Chapter 2: Sublime Laziness
There is no discipline in Tao - Tao is not Yoga. Tao is just the diametrically opposite standpoint to Yoga. If Patanjali and Lao Tzu met, they would not be able to understand each other - impossible; Patanjali would talk about discipline. If Patanjali met Confucius, they would become friends immediately; Confucius also talks about discipline, control, character. Lao Tzu talks about characterlessness. Remember the word characterlessness because Lao Tzu says that the real man has no character - cannot have a character; character means something of the past.
A real man lives in the moment. He does not live through the past, he has no ideas to live - he simply lives, he responds to the present moment. And he has no scriptures to follow, no moralities to follow, he has no commandments. His only attitude is that of spontaneous responsibility: whatsoever is facing him, he responds to totally, he responds fully.
A man of character can never respond fully. He has ideas, he has to do things in a certain way. Before the situation arises he has already decided how to act, he has rehearsed. The man of Tao lives without rehearsal; he never manages, he never jumps ahead. Let the moment come and he is there to reflect it - whatsoever is needed will come out of his being. He trusts nature: his trust is absolute, utterly absolute. The man of character does not trust nature. He says, “I should cultivate good character, otherwise in a certain situation I may behave in a bad way.” He does not trust himself. Look at the absurdity: he does not trust himself and he is going to cultivate and he is going to manage.and he does not trust himself. His self-distrust is there so he becomes a pseudo person, then he loses authenticity. He smiles because he has to smile, he loves because he has to love, he behaves in a certain way because that is how one should behave - but all false. Nothing comes from his heart, nothing flows through his heart, nothing has the touch of his being; everything is just managed. Naturally, he lives a very pseudo life: his love is not alive, his smile is painted, his gestures are all impotent, meaningless. He manages - that’s all, but he never lives.
Tao has no discipline. It does not trust in character, it trusts in being, in your nature. And there is no effort, because all effort is going to create trouble. Effort means conflict, effort means imposing something, effort means that you are at war with yourself. Tao trusts in effortlessness. Jesus says to his disciples: “Look at the lilies in the field, they toil not, they labor not.” They don’t plan for the tomorrow yet they are tremendously beautiful. Even Solomon was not so beautiful when he was attired in all his beautiful dresses and diamonds and ornaments. Even then he was not as beautiful as these lilies in the field. What is the secret of the lilies in the field? They live naturally, they bloom naturally: there is no effort, “they toil not.”