Chapter 7: Difficult and Easy
On difficult and easy Lao Tzu says:
Attend to no-affairs.
Taste the flavorless.
Whether it is big or small, many or few,
requite hatred with virtue.
Deal with the difficult while yet it is easy;
deal with the big while yet it is small.
The difficult problems of the world
must be dealt with while they are yet easy;
the great problems of the world
must be dealt with while they are yet small.
Therefore the sage by never dealing with great problems
He who lightly makes a promise
will find it often hard to keep his faith.
He who makes light of many things
will encounter many difficulties.
Hence even the sage regards things as difficult,
and for that reason never meets with difficulties.
Life is not a problem. Rather, it is a mystery to be lived not a problem to be solved. But it becomes a problem; and it becomes a problem because you go on postponing things, postponing them for tomorrow. That which can be done today, that which should be done today, cannot be done tomorrow. That which would have been a beautiful phenomenon today - a mystery to be lived - tomorrow will become a very hard and cold problem to be solved.
Life in itself, if lived here and now, is not a problem. Postponement creates problems, and then you go on piling up. Then so much gathers around you that it becomes almost impossible to live - you are paralyzed, crippled, in a straitjacket, imprisoned. First try to understand this, then it will be easy to enter into the sutra.
I was saying, just a few days before, that even a genius, a very talented person - he may be a Nobel Prize winner, a great intellectual, world-known - still may behave in a childish way.
If he finds in the morning when he wakes that his slippers are not in the right place, he is angry, irritated.
If he could pay attention to his anger that very moment he would laugh, because this is so foolish! Ridiculous! But he does not pay attention to it.
He goes to the bathroom, irritated, in a bad mood, starts shaving his beard, but he is almost unconscious that a problem has not been dealt with, that a problem is there, poking its nose again and again into his being. And it is growing all the time, because in life nothing is non-growing. Everything alive is growing, and when you are alive your anger is alive, it grows! It never remains the same. Moment to moment it is gathering more momentum and force.