Monday, August 15, 2011

"Do Your Work, Then Step Back"

Fill your bowl to the brim
and it will spill.
Keep sharpening your knife
and it will blunt.
Chase after money and security
and your heart will never unclench.
Care about people's approval
and you will be their prisoner.

Do your work, then step back.
The only path to serenity.

Tao Te Ching, by Lao Tzu, trans. S. Mitchell

I was struck by this verse from the Tao Te Ching, referenced in a new post by our head teacher at the zen center, Byakuren Ragir. Particularly, I found the line I used for the title of this piece both totally simple, and yet very powerful.

Do your work, then step back. Consider all the "noise" then tends to clog up that process. All the ruminating before doing the work. The grumbling, fussing, and foot dragging that can happen during the work. And all the second guessing, what ifs, and grandstanding that sometimes follow said work.

All that noise is empty. It really only holds us back when we allow it to.

*painting by Edward Hopper


Yogini said...

I really needed this reminder today. Thanks for sharing!

Unknown said...

I love this! Thanks for sharing.