“Men are born soft and supple; dead they are stiff and hard. Plants are born tender and pliant; dead, they are brittle and dry. Thus whoever is stiff and inflexible is a disciple of death. Whoever is soft and yielding is a disciple of life. The hard and stiff will be broken. The soft and supple will prevail.” – Laozi
It occurred to me yesterday that you have a choice as to whether you are a disciple of life or a disciple of death at every step along the way. When you deliberately cultivate suppleness in heart, mind and body – the order is important! – you choose life. When you are unrepentant, stubborn or persistently tense, you choose death.
Of which shall you be a disciple today?
8 thoughts on “Disciple of Life”
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You mentioned last week to apply your heart to understanding and you would move quickly along the way. I’ve kept that in mind ever since and found my attitude and heart softening. It does pave the way for something creative and whole to emerge. I aspire to being a disciple of life and could certainly appreciate Carmen’s question about how do we change ourselves from being stubborn and unyielding? We do make our choices everyday but to begin to apply understanding changes everything. It helps break up the stubborn, unyielding persona.
Good to see how cultivating heartfelt qualities such as joy can melt way persistent tenseness opening the way for greater suppleness and greater life giving influence.
Of all of the choices that we have this is likely among if not the most important that we will ever make in our lives. Learning to become flexible changed my life for the better, and I dare say made me of more value to others as well.
This is an excellent point Gregg.
I’m interested in learning more about the order – heart, mind, then body – seems like, in our culture anyway, more time is spent on the body, then if time permits the others are kinda’ an afterthought.
Any additional thoughts to share?
Life and death sure are symbolized in so many ways; in fact, any attitude we take is a life or death situation – no melodrama there, just simply in the spirit of this post. Whether or not one chooses to define life through a higher vision is first a miracle, as so much of the world’s peoples are merely struggling to survive with basic resources. In my mind, if one is fortunate enough to experience affluence, you owe it to the world to expand the meaning of life for all, through what you choose to do now with your extra time. It doesn’t help by making decisions that serve no other purpose, as that will only create an isolated prison of sorts where you lose connection to your fellows and to the greater whole. There’s a trap there for those that are fortunate, and only the selfless aspirations of a noble heart can be the sensor to avoid its snare.
Your untiring reminders are a beacon to any who are willing to Live.
Apt correlation, it makes sense. Plants that are flexible tend to sway with the winds and those that are rigid often break in strong blasts of weather. I agree the heart sets the pattern that the mind and body follow. The practice of not rushing to judge what you see begins to free the heart from that constriction.
I think that perhaps on our journey of Life, we can become so easily stuck as it were, in thinking, emotions and actions. Desire for things to remain unchanged might move us easily into this place of being. Stubborn, and unyielding being the result. How does one change themselves? Even when one wishes this with all of their heart. Can we see within ourselves the repeating of wrong patterns? do they become so obvious before our eyes at last? I think of the “death” mentioned by Laozi above as the death of the possibility for corrections in doings. While within “life” there is unlimited chances given to become! To be able to catch a tiny glimpse of Truth.