Dark & dull can be strength of lasting inner peace

This is a long verse of Tao Te Ching, where Lao Tzu paints a portrait of his life that runs counter to the behaviour of the ordinary. While in the eyes of most people he seems like a fool or simpleton, he enjoys a deep and lasting peace that sets him free from the noise, illusion and mad rush that others are locked in.  “I am different from ordinary people, I nurse from the Great Mother’s breasts,” says he.

Renounce knowledge and your problems will end.
What is the difference between yes and no?
What is the difference between good and evil?
Must you fear what others fear?
Nonsense, look how far you have missed the mark!

Other people are joyous,
as though they were at a spring festival.
I alone am unconcerned and expressionless,
like an infant before it has learned to smile.

Other people have more than they need;
I alone seem to possess nothing.
I am lost and drift about with no place to go.
I am like a fool; my mind is in chaos.

Ordinary people are bright;
I alone am dark.
Ordinary people are clever;
I alone am dull.
Ordinary people seem discriminating;
I alone am muddled and confused.
I drift on the waves on the ocean,
blown at the mercy of the wind.
Other people have their goals,
I alone am dull and uncouth.

I am different from ordinary people.
I nurse from the Great Mother’s breasts.

Lao Tzu Tao Te Ching Chapter 20 translated by J H McDonald

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