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.
I love this verse from the Tao Te Ching for it’s practical and direct advise on what is really important in terms of living an authentic life. These words of perennial wisdom are all about balance. Greed and aggression are a waste of time, because all striving and struggling to satisfy the insatiable egoic wanting only results in illusionary and fleeting moments of upswing, before the pendulum moves to the other direction. Jesus said: “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money” This does not mean to renounce all worldly ties and become a renunciate, or even living in poverty – but it does mean a deep enquiry about one’s own attitude regarding power and the fear of survival. Money matters are deeply engrained in our system and indeed, before we have not met deepest fear, something in us will continue to grasp. And related to this is the approval of others – before one can really find humbleness, one has to face one’s own fear of humiliation.
So it is important to check one’s intention. What drives me to do what I do ? Is it my true interest and purpose, or is it my expectation and image about myself ? Those are the hard questions…
But in the end it is very simple. Do what you do. Then let go of it. Give it the outcome it requires.