“The way for humans is to act without contention.”
The above is the very last line of the very last verse of the Tao Te Ching (Derek Lin translation), a philosophical, saving the best for last core idea of the 81 verses.
This week, I finished a research project to read several translations of the Tao Te Ching, to contemplate the verses and make notes as part of the research for the book I’m writing, “The Way of Human-Hearted Personal Transformation and Leadership.”
Non-Contention is one of my Principles of Human-Hearted Leadership, currently in development. You can read about the first principle, here:
I started my Tao contemplation on May 4, 2020, but I only started making written notes after verse 38. I have another two months to return to the beginning of the book, a wonderful and ironic expression of yin and yang.
But I share this sentiment, this idea that the only path for humanity is non-contention, because of what it tells us about who we are, especially now 2020.
As far as I know, we are the only creatures on this planet with an ego. We believe we can control the world, people, systems, and other animals to our benefit or gain. But this is an illusion and one that has resulted in profound unhappiness, divisiveness, inequality, and war.
The Tao reminds us, with wisdom that is 2,500 years old, that we do not need religions, dogma, or ideology to thrive as human beings.
Instead, we only need to look at nature and the natural order of things to be reminded of how the world works. By the fact that we are part of the world — that we are the stuff of this world — so too will our delusions of power and control be washed away — whether that be in the form of social evolution or annihilation.
All Contention is Ego-Based.
Harmony is oneness.
Oneness is the connection with the natural world and the cooperative harmony with the planet’s ecosystem and all life on this planet.
Without contention, there is no war, no division, no inequality, no racism, no privilege, and no unsustainable capitalism harming the health of our planet.
Without contention, no one person is smarter, more knowledgeable or more deserving than another.
The opposite of contention is contentment — the harmony of self-awareness and the connection to all things.
Invitation to be a Very Impactful Queer
What is the most recent argument or disagreement that you played an active part in creating, encouraging, or fighting to be right? Think about it for a moment and as you reflect on who said what, also notice how you begin to feel. Has your heart-rate increased? Are you furrowing your brow? Are you starting to get warm, upset, frustrated, annoyed, agitated?
Now, with all those feelings and awareness swirling about, ask yourself: How can I be content with what happened? How can I simply allow what happened to be and no longer be affected by it?
Bonus question: Ask yourself, What is the middle-ground that connects both sides of that argument of debate? How are both sides of the argument connected?
You are welcome to share your observations in the comments.