The Watercourse Way


teaser_03Solala’s Blog for the week of 2/11/13

One of the things that drew me to Daoism is its deep connection to the earth. It prizes the yin over the yang. For without the earthy yin to act as a stabilizing force, the yang would have nothing to launch up from and would just dissipate. Laozi says, “Know the yang but hold fast to the yin.”

The other great image from Laozi is that of water.

Water benefits the ten thousand beings
yet contends with no one.
It flows in places that people reject.
In this way it is close to the Dao.
Chapter 8

Later on he talks about how water takes whatever shape of the vessel you put it in. If you put it in a round vessel it becomes round, if you put it in a square vessel it becomes square.

So to do we, as students of the Way, strive to become like water – flowing, humble, persistent, flexible and able to take on whatever shape of whatever situation we find ourselves in. (Especially helpful when traveling.)

Later on he says:

Great rivers and seas can act as
lord of a hundred river valleys.
This is because they flow downstream.
Therefore they can act as
the lord of a hundred valleys.
In this way, the sage who wants to be a guide to others
must place himself lower than them.
If he wants to lead the people
he must follow from behind.
Chapter 66

By holding this image of water and all its attributes as the goal of the sage or the self-realized person, we can find much guidance on how to live our lives in communion with the great and ever present Dao.


I would like to send a special invitation to my readers to join us on our pilgrimage to the sacred Daoist mountains of Maoshan and Wudangshan this spring. See the China Tour section of the site for more details. We will hike the trails to the holy temples, practice qigong in the sacred mountains of Daoism and eat amazing food!