The Art of Living: Ultimate Effectiveness
What is the meaning of life? Why is this important? How do you live your life to make it more meaningful? The Art of Living provides timeless answers to these eternal questions including new perspectives on the world, people and their behaviours; practical tools for avoiding and handling conflicts, and, actionable advice on how to lead effectively and make a difference. “This is powerful, this is for practical people struggling with business goals, lacking time with family … feeling stressed.” (All parts)
50. Truly Set on Living
In the cycle of life and death:
companions of life are one third,
companions of death are one third,
one third are set on living, they slide from life to death.
How come? They are too set on living.
Those truly set on living:
cross the country, facing rhinos and tigers;
enter war without weapons or shields;
rhinos have nowhere to jab;
tigers have nowhere to stick;
opponents have nowhere to pierce.
How come? Those truly set on living
are without mortal spots.
Those who understand ultimate purpose (tao) certainly have a penetrating familiarity with the overall pattern of things; those who understand this pattern certainly know how to deal with contingencies. And those who know how to deal with contingencies will not find themselves harmed by other things. For those of the very best character, fire cannot burn them, water cannot drown them, heat and cold cannot harm them, birds and beasts cannot hurt them. This is not to say they don’t pay any attention to such things, but rather that because they are alert to danger, secure amid changing fortunes, and careful in their undertakings, nothing is able to do them harm.
51. Ultimate Effectiveness
Purpose is created,
integrity nurtures it.
Conditions are setup,
momentum completes them.
Purpose is honoured,
integrity is respected
since they enable self-organisation without coercion.
Purpose is created;
integrity nurtures it,
Create without owning;
act without coercion,
nurture without orders.
This is ultimate effectiveness.
“Integrity” (de) is interpreted by the verb that means “to obtain” … “integrity” (de) is something that is effective … it does not take over what it helps to exist (it remains uninvolved); it acts through action that is neither dependant nor expectant of any return (without applying pressure); it makes things develop (but without exerting authority).
52. Back To the Beginning
The beginning of everything
is the mother of everything.
Once you know the mother,
you know the children.
Once you know the children,
safeguard the mother
be without danger
until life ends.
Block the passage, bolt the gate:
be without strain
until life ends.
Open the passage, take on too much:
be without relief
until life ends.
Seeing the small is real sensitivity;
safeguarding the weak is real strength.
Seeing how things reveal themselves;
relying on sensitivity;
to stay clear of calamities
This is according with common sense.
Ultimate purpose (tao) is formless and reality is constantly evolving … By embracing ultimate purpose (tao), it is possible to embrace variations in circumstances, which marks an important step toward a system of variation that is capable of replacing all models.
53. Thieves’ Purpose
Having some knowledge
of ultimate purpose,
only turn-offs bring fear.
Although the road to ultimate purpose is smooth,
people prefer shortcuts.
Although the court is clean and garnished,
the fields are overgrown and granaries empty;
their clothing is gorgeous with weapons in their belts;
they are glutted with food and drink;
their wealth is excessive.
This is called thieves’ purpose,
avoid confusing it with ultimate purpose.
Ames & Hall
One explanation for people getting lost along the way is … of their own making: They are tempted from the straight and narrow by beckoning byways and shortcuts.
54. Well Planted, Well Embraced
Well planted, rooted.
Well embraced, saved.
Descendants will continue
the ancestral habits.
effectiveness becomes real.
effectiveness becomes abundant.
effectiveness becomes enduring.
effectiveness becomes prolific.
Maintain the world:
effectiveness becomes universal.
through self, contemplate others;
through family, contemplate families;
through community, contemplate communities;
through society, contemplate societies;
through the world, contemplate past and future worlds;
How do I know?
You do make a difference … You are like a wave of energy that illuminates the room — everyone will see the light and become affected.
55. The Baby’s Effectiveness
Filled with effectiveness like a baby:
wasps, scorpions and vipers avoid stinging it;
tigers avoid stalking it;
eagles avoid attacking it;
soft bones, weak muscles, tight grip;
ignorant of the union of man and woman,
yet its sex is formed,
its vital energy complete;
screaming all day without getting hoarse,
its harmony complete.
Knowing harmony is endurance.
Knowing endurance is sensitivity.
On the other hand, striving to increase life is dangerous,
forcing you to use energy needlessly.
Beings prosper and age naturally;
going against this is going against ultimate purpose.
Go against ultimate purpose and the end is near.
Ames & Hall
Vitality is managing one’s energy effectively across the seasons of one’s lifetime. The newly born child is an image of the fullness of potency: a robustness that makes it immune from environing evils … What gives the baby its vigour is its capacity to respond from the centre, being supple, yet firm, flexible yet potent. The baby, unconsciously and without motivation, is the embodiment of harmony and equilibrium.
Ultimate purpose (tao) is more than the cycle of any individual life. We rise, flourish, fail. Ultimate purpose (tao) never fails. We are waves. It is the sea.
The Art of Living: All Parts
- Sections 1–6: Ultimate purpose
- Sections 7–13: Attending to needs
- Sections 14–19: We did it ourselves
- Sections 20–24: Grasping the whole
- Sections 25–30: Self-organisation
- Sections 31–37: Knowing yourself
- Sections 38–43: Effectiveness
- Sections 44–49: What is enough?
- Sections 50–55: Ultimate effectiveness
- Sections 56–61: Living with change
- Sections 62–66: Serving without interference
- Sections 67–73: Effectiveness without contending
- Sections 74–81: Balancing
This is provided as Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International by the author, Erik Schön.