One with the Dust

“Be one with the dust of the way” Lao Tzu says. Effect an evenness of mind in all matters. There is no one way for everyone but for everyone there is a way. Such is the life experience.

The Tao Te Ching was written at least 2400 years ago, probably by Lao Tzu (but definitely by the Chinese) as Ursula Le Guin explains in her version of the way.[1]

Her book was decades in the making, in itself a lifetime, of which we seem to have so many, if not in years in an accumulation of moments, one after another, like “uncut wood” untouched until lived.

The more ingenious the skillful are,

the more monstrous their inventions.

The louder the call for law and order,

the more the thieves and con men multiply.[2]

Unlike Ursula Le Guin, I have not spent my decades opening and closing pages of the Tao Te Ching (although I might have) but that was not my dust. She and I were to meet at a distance, the writer and the reader–uncut wood–and between us, a shared dust.

Knowing other people is intelligence,

Knowing yourself is wisdom.

Overcoming others takes strength,

overcoming yourself takes greatness.

Contentment is wealth.[3]

Such evenness of mind is not as fleeting as it once was but I still lose my balance rounding the next bend, even when it’s downhill all the way. Too readily, I doubt my being one with the dust but equanimity is no longer a stranger.

Boldly pushing forward takes resolution.

Staying put keeps you in position.

To live till you die

is to live long enough.[4]

Life, experience after experience as a human being in a physical dimension fraught with tension, an energy not yet explained some 2400 years after the way of Lao Tzu.

And yet here we are, each one of us with our dust, sometimes in the company of conmen and other times knowing the contentment of uncut wood.

Aim for Even posts offer equanimity a dose at a time. No day or dose is ever the same, even if the aim is. You may read about the origins of Aim for Even here or on this site’s About page.


[1]Lao Tzu: Tao Te Ching. A Book About the Way and the Power of the Way. Ursula K. Le Guin, 1998 Shambala Publications.

[2]Le Guin, page 74.

[3]Le Guin, page 44.

[4]Le Guin, page 44.

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