Chapter 1: On the Absolute Tao
Don’t choose. Live life as it comes - float. Don’t make any effort to reach anywhere. Don’t move towards a goal; enjoy the moment in its totality and don’t be bothered by the future or the past. Then a symphony arises within your soul, the lowest and the highest meet in you, and then - then you have a richness.
If you are only the highest you are poor, because you are like a hill which has no valleys: it is a poor hill. Valleys give depth and valleys give mystery; in valleys abides the very poetry. The peak is arithmetical; it is plain. In the valley move the shadows, the mysteries. Without a valley a peak is poor. And without a peak a valley is poor, because then there is only darkness. The sun never visits it; it is damp and gloomy and sad. The richest possibility is to be a peak and a valley together.
Somewhere Nietzsche says.. Nietzsche had one of the most penetrating minds that has ever been possessed by any human being. Because of that penetration he became mad; it was too much, the mind was too much, he couldn’t contain it. He says that a tree that wants to reach to the sky has to go to the deepest earth. The roots have to go to the very hell, deep down; only then can the branches, the peak, reach to the heaven. The tree will have to touch both: the hell and the heaven, the height and the depth both.
And the same is true for the being of man: you have, somehow, to meet the Devil and the divine both in your innermost core of being. Don’t be afraid of the Devil, otherwise your God will be a poorer God. A Christian or a Jewish God is very poor. The Christian or Jewish or Mohammedan God has no salt in it.tasteless, because the salt has been thrown away, the salt has become the Devil. They have to become one. An organic unity exists in existence between the opposites: being and non-being, difficult and easy, long and short, high and low.
Tones and voice interdepend in harmony;
Front and behind interdepend in company.
Therefore the sage:
Manages affairs without action.
This is what Lao Tzu calls wu wei: The sage manages affairs without action. Three are the possibilities - one: be in action and forget inaction. You will be a worldly man. The second possibility: drop action, move to the Himalayas and remain inactive. You will be an otherworldly man. The third possibility: live in the market but don’t allow the market to live in you. Act without being active, move but remain unmoving inside.
I am talking to you and there is silence inside me - I am talking and not-talking together. Move and don’t move. Act and don’t act. If inaction and action can meet, then the harmony arises. Then you become a beautiful phenomenon - not beautiful against ugliness, but beautiful which comprehends ugliness also.