How can I live without serving Myself?


7. Complete

Nature is complete because it does not serve itself

The Sage places himself after and finds himself before

Ignores his desire and finds himself content

He is complete because he does not serve himself

How do you ‘not serve yourself’ when, on some level at least, you have to?  I mean, you do have to look after your physical well being – have a roof above your head, food and clothing.

Perhaps the next verse from the Tao Te Ching might help:

8. Water

The best of man is like water

Which benefits all things and does not contend with them

Which flows in places that others disdain

Where it is with harmony with the Way

So the Sage

Lives within nature

Thinks within the deep

Gives within impartiality

Speaks within trust

Governs within order

Crafts within ability

Acts within opportunity

He does not contend and none contend against him

Translation variously sourced and compiled at

I don’t know about you, but these ideas strike such a beautiful chord within me.  I imagine myself being like water, benefiting all things without coming into any conflict.  I imagine what it would be like flowing effortlessly and joyously into places that I, as my conditioned, my ‘less than best’ self, would not want to go to.  I imagine myself being in complete harmony with the very source of life:

Living within nature (not at odds with it), thinking within the mind of unity (not the separatist ego-mind), giving without discrimination of any sort, speaking as if there was nothing but trust, governing within order since disorder can never be governed, crafting, working, producing within ability because disability or inability is unproductive and acting within opportunity, realizing that every situation, every moment is a moment of opportunity, of infinite possibility.

It is an amazingly powerful and liberating way to live.  How tremendously empowering it would be to start each day in this way, indeed in this Way, and to return to it often in the course of a day when the mind has likely slipped away from the Way i.e. a-Way!  It occurs to me that when one lives this way, serving one self is simply impossible, for everything that one does will, by default, provide for or benefit oneself even as it provides for or benefits all.

You might say it is a matter of consciousness – what consciousness do we live each moment in?  A single, separate mind/being consciousness or a unified, complete mind/being consciousness?  What are your thoughts?

Lucy Lopez

Learning to live the Wisdom of the Tao post by post!