That which is unmoving is easily grasped.
That which has not yet occurred is easily prevented.
That which is infirm is easily overcome.
That which is delicate is easily dismantled.
Deal with a problem before it develops.
Take command of a situation before it spins out of control.
A trunk broader than your embrace
Grows from the slenderest stem.
A tower nine stories high
Ascends from a mere pile of dust.
A journey three hundred miles long
Is launched with a single step.
Struggle with something and you’ll break it.
Grasp too tightly and it will flow through your fingers.
Because sages don’t strive,
They don’t destroy anything.
And because they don’t hold on too hard,
They don’t lose anything either.
Ordinary people often ruin things
Just before they’re about to complete them.
Remain as unattached at the end as you are at the beginning,
And your expectations won’t get the better of you.
Therefore the sage seeks freedom from desire,
And does not prize things that are hard to come by.
In learning how to unlearn his conditionings,
He uncovers treasures that others pass over.
In offering these gifts without pressure,
He helps the world return to its true nature.
You may order or download The Tao Te Ching here.
List of verses here
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