Express yourself completely,
then keep quiet.
Be like the forces of nature:
when it blows, there is only wind;
when it rains, there is only rain;
when the clouds pass, the sun shines through.
If you open yourself to the Tao,
you are at one with the Tao
and you can embody it completely.
If you open yourself to insight,
you are at one with insight
and you can use it completely.
If you open yourself to loss,
you are at one with loss
and you can accept it completely.
Open yourself to the Tao,
then trust your natural responses;
and everything will fall into place
The translation of Tao Te Ching Chapter 23 by Stephen Mitchell is not literal – especially the first section – but I like it. It is lovely!
If you want a version that brings out the meaning of first section of Lao Tzu’s original text, I would think Ursula K. Le Guin’s comes closer: “Nature doesn’t make long speeches. A whirlwind doesn’t last all morning. A cloudburst doesn’t last all day. Who makes the wind and rain? Heaven and earth do. If heaven and earth don’t go on and on certainly people don’t need to.”
Thanks to Gonzale for the picture.