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.
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?