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Toon-Te-Ching: Verse 16

Welcome to this installment of the Toon-Te-Ching. We are taking each one of the 81 verses of the Tao-Te-Ching, pairing it with a toon and connecting the teaching to our work life.


Verse 16

Become totally empty.

Let your heart be at peace.

Amidst the rush of worldly comings and goings,

observe how endings become beginnings.

Things flourish, each by each,

only to return to the Source . . .

to what is and what is to be.

To return to the root is to find peace.

To find peace is to fulfill one’s destiny.

To fulfill one’s destiny is to be constant.

To know the constant is called insight.

Not knowing this cycle

leads to eternal disaster.

Knowing the constant gives perspective.

This perspective is impartial.

Impartiality is the highest nobility;

the highest nobility is Divine.

Being Divine, you will be at one with the Tao.

Being at one with the Tao is eternal.

This way is everlasting,

not endangered by physical death.

Endings become beginnings. As a society, we have become enamored with the idea of starting new things. But in order for something new to begin, something else needs to end. Nothing grows in a junkyard. Let the death of one thing create compost for the next.

We tend to mourn endings, but what if we celebrated them? What are you prolonging that you need to allow to end? What is possible to begin in its place?

Continuous Growth is not a cycle. In the business world today, the only acceptable trajectory is upward growth, year after year. Take a step back for a moment, and think holistically. Is it really possible for the world economy to keep growing? For all companies to keep growing? For our population to keep growing? Can you imagine peace and happiness, in business, without financial growth? Perhaps there’s a company, with happy customers, where the employees make a decent wage. We don’t value this idea in our business world very often.

The verse says that “Not knowing this cycle leads to eternal disaster.” And we see this every time there’s a stock market ‘correction’. ‘Oh it’s a disaster!’ and we’re all surprised. But yet we know intuitively, what goes up, must come down.

Heart Twist. Pay attention to how often growth and new things are valued in your day to day work life. Can you find an instance at work where the cycle is ‘returning to the root’ and find peace with it?

Credit: Dyer, Wayne. Change Your Thoughts - Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao (p. 72). Hay House. Kindle Edition.



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