|The Tao of the Ancients|
The ancient followers of the Tao:
so wise, so subtle, so profound,
so deeply understanding,
that they were themselves misunderstood.
They must therefore be described.
Cautious, like crossing a stream in mid-winter;
observant, like moving in fear through hostile land;
modest, retiring like ice beginning to melt;
dignified, like an honored guest;
genuine, like natural, untouched wood;
receptive, like an inviting, open valley;
friendly, like muddied water, freely mixing.
Who can make sense of a world like cloudy water?
Left alone and still, it becomes clear.
Should this stillness be maintained?
Moving hastily will surely cloud it again.
How then can one move and not become clouded?
Accept Tao and achieve without being selfish;
being unselfish one endures the world's wear,
and needs no change of pace.