The Way In The Middle

“Holding a cup and overfilling it
Cannot be as good as stopping short
Pounding a blade and sharpening it
Cannot be kept for long”


“Therefore the sage:
Eliminates extremes
Eliminates excess…”

Source: Tao Te Ching (translation by Derek Lin) , chapter 9 and 29

It’s funny how much extremes don’t work for us. We cannot bend to any side with impunity — whether it’s an activity, a behavior or a standpoint. At some point there is a price to pay — either we “break” or “become blunt”.

For example, diving into an activity, a “passion” without consideration for all life’s crucial aspects usually brings pain. We have roles to play which require balanced attention — health, family, friends, professional life — private life. We have values which have to work in unison for us to be whole. We have to rest.

To behave in a measured way is a sign of experience and wisdom — if one doesn’t need to express himself loudly, obtrusively, aggressively or by contrast — passively, that person seems complete to us, seems consistent.

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