Taoteching – Lao Tzu
“…it dulls our edges
unties our tangles
softens our light
and merges our dust…”
Commentary by Wei Yuan (1794 – 1856): “By taking advantage of edges, we create conflicts with others. By shining bright lights, we illuminate their dust. Grinding down edges makes conflicts disappear. Dimming light merges dust with dust and with darkness.”
Commentary by Huang Yuan-Chi (Fl. 1820 – 1874): “A person who can adjust their light to that of the crowd and merge with the dust of the world is like a magic mushroom among ordinary plants. You can’t see it, but it makes everything smell better.”
These commentaries bring up a point that I feel is especially relevant for these days where there are so many conflicting views about “what’s going on” in the world. Lao Tzu counsels us to avoid conflict by wanting to prove our own view of things and rather “grind down the edges” and “dim our light” so that dust (our outward appearance) merges with dust. It is more important to be in harmony with others than to “be right”. It may seem like this means to retreat from our truth and to enter into compromises in order to avoid conflict. In my experience I remain in my Truth and allow my presence to have its effect, that may not be explicit (“You can’t see it”) but creates space for further dialog and understanding (“but it makes everything smell better.”) The bottom line is to be clear inside but not provoke separation and emotional turbulence on the ‘outside’.