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Saturday, 28 June 2014

One Step!

I thought I would post something inspirational today.

An ancient philosopher Lao Tzu once said...
The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step
Or is it 'with a single step' or 'begins beneath the feet'? As with anything, through time and translation there exist variations to the original. This popular phrase comes from Chapter 64 from the Tao Te Ching.
When it is peaceful, it is easy to maintain. When it shows no signs, it is easy to plan. When it is fragile, it is easy to break. When it is small, it is easy to scatter.
Act on it when it has not yet begun. Treat it when it is not yet chaotic. A tree thick enough to embrace, Grows from the tiny sapling. A tower of nine levels, Starts from the dirt heap. A journey of a thousand miles, Begins beneath the feet.
The one who meddles will fail. The one who grasps will lose. Therefore, sages do not meddle and thus do not fail. They do not grasp and thus do not lose.
People, in handling affairs, Often come close to completion and fail. If they are as careful in the end as the beginning, Then they would have no failure.
Therefore, sages desire not to desire. They do not value goods that are hard to acquire. They learn to unlearn, To redeem the fault of the people. To assist the nature of all things, Without daring to meddle
(source: www.Taoism.net and Tao Te Ching: Annotated & Explained, published by SkyLight Paths in 2006)

The gist of that phrase is - To achieve your goals/challenges in life, one has to take action and start somewhere.

However, one could also interpret it as -
  • Big task, baby steps,
  • Where you are right now is because of the step you chose to take,
  • Getting started on anything is the hardest.
There are so many useful ways that you can try to interpret those wise words and if you look at the chapter as a whole there is more. I get the following messages from it (in no particular order) -
  • When things are good and running smooth, life is easy. Like cogs in a wheel, they must be oiled to maintain everything in good order
  • Prevention is better than cure
  • When you do not work at it, it becomes a monster and to tackle it you start from the bottom and build a strong foundation
  • Do not rush and do quick fixes as the result will not be good
  • Balance and harmony
  • Do not complicate matters, keep it simple one step at a time.
Like everything in life, start by building a strong foundation, maintain your structure and life is good.

How true is that in life?

I think back on my life and it has gone through many mountains and valleys but there is not one thing that does not start with that one single step. Every path or destination I take has been a choice. A choice to take a step backwards or a choice to go forwards.

Take this post for example, the big task I have set myself is to blog (something I am not too comfortable with blogging at the moment). So I thought I would do something short and sweet like a picture with an inspirational quote that is meaningful to me. Did exactly that and the next thing I knew I was researching deeper and deeper into the phrase and viola! - an epic blog post.

I am no philosopher and in no way wanting to be one. However, I do have certain values in life that I hold close to my heart. So every now and again I get the urge to dig deep and meaningfully.

So, what do you see from Chapter 64?

Until next time...

Today and everyday ... is an adventure!

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