Lieh Tzu was going to Ch’i but turned back half way. On the road he met Po-hun Wu-jen who asked him why he had turned back.
Lieh Tzu said, “I was alarmed by something.”
“What was it?” asked the old man.
“I ate at ten inns and at five they served me first.
“When a man’s inner integrity is not firm, sometimes, something oozes from his body and becomes an aura, which, outside him, presses on the hearts of others; it makes other men honor him more than his elders and betters, and gets him into difficulties.
“The only motive of an innkeeper is to sell his rice and soup, and increase his earnings. His profits are meager, and the considerations which sway him have little weight. If men with so little to gain from me value me so highly as a customer, will it not be even worse with the lord of ten thousand chariots who has worn out his body and drained his knowledge in state affairs? The Prince of Ch’i will appoint me to some office and insist that I fill it efficiently. This is what alarmed me.”
“An excellent way to look at it! But even if you stay, other men will lay responsibilities on you,” said the old man.
Not long afterwards, when Po-hun Wu-jen went to call on him, Lieh Tzu’s porch was full of the shoes of visitors. Po-hun Wu-jen stood facing north; he leaned on his upright staff and wrinkled his cheek against it. After standing there for a while, he left without speaking. The doorkeeper told Lieh Tzu. Lieh Tzu ran out barefoot holding his shoes in his hands and caught up with him at the gate.
“Now that you have come, Master,” he said, “aren’t you even going to give me my medicine?”
“Enough! I told you confidently that others would lay responsibilities on you, and it turns out that they have. It is not that you are capable of allowing them to do so, you are incapable of preventing them. What use is it to you to have this effect on people which is incompatible with your own basic peace? If you insist on making an effect, it will unsteady your basic self, and to no purpose.’
To be is to miss Tao. To be is to miss the whole. To be is to be separate, so not to be is the door. To be is going astray. Not to be is coming home. When you are not, god is. When you are, God is not, and both have never been seen together; they cannot be together by their very nature. Just as darkness and light cannot exist together: if one is, the other is not.