The Thought for the Day – Deng Ming-Dao

Muddy water becomes clear if allowed to stand undisturbed. –  Deng Ming-Dao, 365 Tao


Deng Ming-Dao is an American writer, artist and although he might well disdain the term, philosopher. He has written many books on the Chinese spiritual discipline Tao and 365 Tao is a book of daily meditations. We have enjoyed and derived benefits from this book for years and we recommend it to anyone, regardless of where your spiritual path is taking you right now.

Life is not always crystal clear. We want it to be. We want to be able to set goals and have them come to fruition and live worthwhile lives without too much fuss but it seldom works out that way. There are an awful lot of people on this planet and we are all leading more or less random lives and those random lives sometimes get intertwined, sometimes for good, sometimes for bad and sometimes for no apparent reason whatsoever.

This means there are often times when our crystal clear ideal gets muddied. That’s OK. It’s the way the world is built.

In response to this, it is common to want to dive in and attempt to make things go the way we want, trying to mold people and circumstances to how we want them to respond. Sometimes, either through brilliance or sheer brute force, this works. Oftentimes, perhaps even usually, it does not. Sometimes all we end up doing is getting in the way, muddling things to such an extent our desired outcome slips away from us.

Worse, this is a lesson that is seldom learned on the first go-round. Usually, we have to interfere and muck things up numerous times before this lesson even begins to take hold. Then we need further reinforcement before letting go becomes habit. 

Muddy water becomes clear if allowed to stand undisturbed…

So do muddy situations in life. Sometimes all we need for clarity is to stand back and let matters take their course, which they are going to do anyway whether we interfere or not.

Letting muddy water clear by leaving it undisturbed is a good metaphor for life: most things work out if we let them. It is a lesson that sometimes takes years to learn but once established, it leads to calmer, more peaceful life.

The Thought for the Day runs regularly. Quotes are from Gaylon’s private stock.

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