Tao Te Ching 9th Verse Thoughts

To keep on filling is not as good as stopping.  Overfilled,
the cupped hands drip, better to stop pouring.

Sharpen a blade too much and its edge will soon be lost.  Fill your
house with jade and gold and it brings insecurity.  Puff yourself
with honor and pride and no one can save you from a fall.

Retire when the work is done; this is the way of heaven.

Woman relaxing after a job well done

Wayne calls it “Living Humility” but another way of presenting this is living in moderation.


 So take only what you need and ignore the Ego’s urging to take it all.  Having it all is not sustainable because the Ego’s appetite is insatiable and will never be satisfied.  Living in moderation is listening to your inner self, knowing when enough is enough.  


This can also be a lesson in finding joy and contentment on where you are in this moment instead of longing for more.   Take solace in the fact that you are where you need to be at this moment and it’s perfect for you. 

What this means in my life:

  • Maybe not having that 2nd portion in a meal; something I always regret because I end up feeling bloated and uncomfortable leading me to feel “overfilled” as Loa Tzu mentions.  
  • When working in the yard or in my career I listen to my body and rest when needed.   Pushing it as so many of us do, will wear one down over time and the blade that “will soon be lost” is my health and energy.  
  • My motivation is internal and not external.  Praise, money, love, etc.. from others is nice but is it ever enough?   Only if the motivation and satisfaction is from within.  Listen to your inner self and you’ll become aware of that feeling of a job well done and there isn’t a need to “Puff yourself.”
  • Finally, live with an attitude that at any time, I’m right where I’m supposed to be.   

What does this mean in your life?  How would you apply Verse 9 of the Tao Te Ching?

Tao Te Ching 8th Verse Thoughts

Tao Te Ching 8th Verse Thoughts

The supreme good is like water, which nourishes all things without
trying to.  It flows to low places loathed by all men.  Therefore, it is
like the Tao

Live in accordance with the nature of things. In dwelling, be close to
the land.  In meditation, go deep in the heart.  In dealing with others,
be gentle and kind.  Stand by your word. Govern with equity.  Be
timely in choosing the right moment.

One who lives in accordance with nature does not go against the
way of things.  He moves in harmony with the present moment,
always knowing the truth of just what to do.

There is so much to this verse that one could spend a lifetime contemplating and practicing the words above.   For me, it’s been well over a year of meditation, contemplation, brainstorming with others to clarify what this verse means to me.   I have struggled more than I thought I would but with time, came that clarity that I have been searching for.

Patience: Colorado River carving a path through solid stone.

Be like water:

Water does not discriminate; it will quench the thirst of all who wishes to take it in and so we must not discriminate in our service to others.  Water is patient and has all the time of the world. It can carve canyons out of solid stone reaching the lowest places Loa Tzu mentioned.  One thing that I have noticed is that once water reaches that lowly place, it’s not longer so “lowly”.  Water transcends, transforms and all who need water’s nourishment will come; no longer loathed by men. 

Wayne says to drink water silently and have gratitude for “this life-sustaining, always-flowing substance.”   With each drink, I will be reminded of this and will do my best to be more like water in my everyday life. 

Tao Te Ching 7th Verse ThoughtsTao Te Ching 9th Verse Thoughts

Tao Te Ching 7th Verse Thoughts

Heaven is eternal – the earth endures.  Why do heaven and earth last

forever?  They do not live for themselves only.  This is the secret of

their durability

For this reason the sage puts himself last and so ends up ahead. He

stays a witness to life, so he endures.

Serve the needs of others, and all your own needs will be fulfilled.

Through selfless action, fulfillment is attained

being a silent witness

Wayne suggested that if we have the opportunity to offer up advice or our two cents on a subject, don’t.   Choose to be a silent witness and he adds, “note how uncomfortable your decision to remain quiet felt.”  In other words, just listen; something I have struggled with but have gotten better with over the years.   I do like to give my two cents, (hence this blog), but it isn’t always what someone needs. and I grudgingly admit that it can be uncomfortable to be quiet as Wayne stated.  Now this doesn’t mean I’m quiet the whole time but I have found that unless it is asked for, my opinion is usually not warranted.  I have found through my silence, I have done more good than with my words.

I took this a step further and not only observed and practiced how I can serve but I took notice of others serving as well.  When you do look for it, it’s amazing how much you see.  Could be as simple as someone letting a car merge in front of them or a special education teacher working with a child with autism.  Being a “witness to life” as l Lao Tzu wrote and observing others serving inspires me to do the same.   So not only should we serve but also be present enough to witness others serving as well.

Living the Tao each day

What are you doing in your life to serve or what things have you seen while being a “witness to life?” Please leave a comment below.