30 Not making war A Taoist wouldn’t advise a ruler to use force of arms for conquest; that tactic backfires. Where the army marched grow thorns and thistles. After the war come the bad harvests. Good leaders prosper, that’s all, not presuming on victory. They prosper without boasting, or domineering, or arrogance, prosper because they can’t help it, prosper without violence. Things flourish then perish. Not the Way. What’s not the Way soon ends. Lao Tzu : Tao Te Ching : A Book About the Way and the Power of the Way Le Guin, Ursula K.; Tzu, Lao
31 Against war Even the best weapon is an unhappy tool, hateful to living things. So the follower of the Way stays away from it. Weapons are unhappy tools, not chosen by thoughtful people, to be used only when there is no choice, and with a calm, still mind, without enjoyment. To enjoy using weapons is to enjoy killing people, and to enjoy killing people is to lose your share in the common good. It is right that the murder of many people be mourned and lamented. It is right that a victor in war be received with funeral ceremonies. Lao Tzu : Tao Te Ching : A Book About the Way and the Power of the Way Le Guin, Ursula K.; Tzu, Lao
Every day lately, I feel myself teetering on a precipice of despair, barely catching myself from falling over. Every day I heave many sighs of relief that somewhere someone has remembered the common good. That somewhere someone has chosen nonviolence, and it has made all the difference. Then I begin the next day teetering and sighing.
Patience is a difficult spiritual practice for me. I desire the magnanimity to allow myself and others to grow at the pace we are able to grow but instead, I often despair over our human limitations. The practice of patience is a way to get through this time of social rancor.
Breathing in, I am patient. Breathing out, I release despair. Breathing in, I am patient. Breathing out, I release shame. Breathing in, I am patient. Breathing out, I release blame. Breathing in, I am patient. Breathing out, I release impatience. Breathing in, I am patient. May it be so.