Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu (translated by Stephen Mitchell)*****

Reading dates: 14 May – 22 July 2015

Neil and I started reading The Dhammapada together. We abandoned it. We then started the Tao Te Ching, and we kept at it. It was a very enjoyable experience to read this book aloud, one or two chapters each night while feeling the echoes of our voices and the teachings of the master afterwards. I liked it very much, and would like to re-read it to absorb more of what it can give. I am also reading Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras and my mind is beginning to understand and bear these threads of wisdom both texts weave. They are very different from the books I normally read: argued, contended and densely expressed. The Tao, the way, is open and generous, a practice in doing, as well as in reading. Here’s my favourite chapter, which helped me so much when I was in the 2015 New Jammers programme ran by @TheGlasgowJam, thinking about facilitating contact improvisation (a rather complex thing you can read about here):

10
Can you coax your mind from its wandering
and keep to the original oneness?
Can you let your body become
supple as a newborn child’s?
Can you cleanse your inner vision
until you see nothing but the light?
Can you love people and lead them
without imposing your will?
Can you deal with the most vital matters
by letting events take their course?
Can you step back from you own mind
and thus understand all things?
Giving birth and nourishing,
having without possessing,
acting with no expectations,
leading and not trying to control:
this is the supreme virtue.