In light of all of the madness in the world today I found this oddly comforting. The I Ching isn’t easily understood, by me at least, but I found the explanation in this translation helpful and hope you might find some peace here.

art by Nathalie Van

When in the world all appreciate beauty as beauty,
then ugliness is already there;
when all appreciate good as good;
then bad is already there.

Therefore being and non-being generate each other,
difficult and easy complete each other,
long and short define each other,
high and low lean towards each other,
before and after follow each other.

That is why the sage abides in the service of non doing and practices the teaching without words.
The myriad beings arise and she does not reject them,
they are born and she does not possess them.
She acts, but does not depend on results.
Work is accomplished, but she does not dwell on it.
Just because she does not dwell on it, her work is not lost.

Commentary: Opposites generate each other and turn into one another. As soon as we hold onto anything, its opposite simultaneously arises: the obsession with beauty is in itself ugly; the obsession with virtue is a cradle of perversion. Every statement contains the seed of its own negation. The sage does not identify with any absolute statement, since she knows that the opposite statement follows it as its shadow.

Tao Te Ching: A Guide to the Interpretation of the Foundational Book of Taoism by Shantena Augusto Sabbadini
Share this article...