Tao Te Ching #10: “Carrying vitality and consciousness”

Carrying vitality and consciousness,
embracing them as one,
can you keep them from parting?
Concentrating energy,
making it supple,
can you be like an infant?
Purifying hidden perception,
can you make it flawless?
Loving the people, governing the nation,
can you be uncontrived?
As the gate of heaven opens and closes,
can you be impassive?
As understanding reaches everywhere,
can you be innocent?
Producing and developing,
producing without possessing,
doing without presuming,
growing with domineering:
this is called mysterious power.

– Thomas Cleary



Can you keep the crescent from wandering
can you make your breath as soft as a baby’s
can you wipe your dark mirror free of dust
can you serve and govern without effort
can you be the female at Heaven’s Gate
can you light the world without knowledge
can you give birth and nurture
but give birth without possessing
raise without controlling
that is Dark Virtue

– Red Pine


The new-moon soul aborning holds to oneness;
Can you keep it from being divided?
To center all breath energy, to work gently
Can you keep as if newborn?
To purify the eye within
Can you keep without stain?
To care for the people and rule the kingdom
Must you not master under-acting?
Midst ebb and flow from heaven’s gates
Must you not play the female part?
For your vision to reach all quarters
Must you not be unknowing?
Through giving birth and care
Dao gives life without possessing,
Performs without obligating,
Presides without controlling:
Such is the meaning of “hidden power.”

– Moss Roberts