Galen Pearl

Galen Pearl

Galen Pearl

Tao Te Ching – Chapter 72

When people do not fear power
Great power appears

These first two lines have been translated and interpreted so many ways, it’s difficult to find any footing in a particular meaning. Like many passages in the Tao Te Ching which seem to address governance, this couplet could refer to actual political government, and could also refer to the way we govern our own individual selves internally. I tend to lean towards the internal application of these passages, because harmonious external governance is rooted in harmonious internal alignment. 

With that in mind, the power referenced in these lines is not necessarily the external imposition of superior force, but could mean the power inherent in all of us when we allow the limitless natural energy of the universe to move in us, through us, and manifest outwardly. This is not the power of individual will, but rather the power of all creation when our own individual will is surrendered in alignment. 

The power of this universal energy is blocked by fear. As Marianne Williamson said, “Our deepest fear is not that we are powerless. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.” Thus, great power appears when fear is released. Sit with that for a moment.

The chapter continues by observing that this power is not oppressive. It does not interfere with or disrupt or burden people’s lives, but rather operates in natural harmony with the people’s homes, families, and activities.

Thus the sage is self aware without seeking recognition
Loves herself without arrogance
Moves freely without attachment

Here is a description of inner balance and freedom. When I read this I get a sense of someone who delights in life, walking humbly in service to others, appreciating the miracle of each moment. 

Do justice. Love mercy. Walk humbly. ~ from Micah 6:8

10 thoughts on “Tao Te Ching – Chapter 72”

  1. Yes, we do seem to fear the power within ourselves – I wonder why? We seem to pull away. This is an excellent reminder to go with it if it presents itself,or wants to flow through us. Taking the verse from a personal power perspective makes more sense to me than an external power which is driven by very different forces1 Thanks, Galen :>)

  2. When the sage becomes aware of the greater Self , she/he does not need recognition in order to elevate a functional and yet necessary lower self. They can then love the flawed and imperfect self without being arrogant or attached to it. When the fear of a separate self is lifted, great power in the form of love and acceptance can happen through our connection and alignment with our greater Self. There is such great power in this awareness. More and more people are waking into to this reality. Good writing Galen

  3. Why is the power within ourselves so frightening? I think perhaps one reason might be because the degree of power is matched by the degree of responsibility. Just a thought. I'm sure there are other reasons as well. I agree, Lynne, that these passages are more meaningful, at least to me, in a personal sense.

  4. I always love your posts that show the intricate workings of that wonderful mind of yours. I read this one several times and even went off looking for a poem about respect that I could share with you. An hour later, having found nothing relevant, I'm just going to say "thank you." You help me have respect for all life.

  5. I loved the last paragraph on Inner Balance and Freedom. I have been thinking a lot about our Heavenly Father's desires for us. There is a plan for each of His children but alas they have agency to choose whether to find and follow that plan or divert to somethings else. Part of that plan lies in aligning our will to His. Ultimately, if we do, we will find true joy and freedom. His plan is perfect and is the true plan of happiness. The really struggle is giving our will to His. This life plan starts with the Pre-earth life, earth life, life and then eternal life.
    I thought your post today, kind of related to this thought.
    Blessings and hugs!

  6. Yes, LeAnn, I see the parallel like you do. That surrender into alignment goes by many names in different traditions, but I think the concept is the same. Hope you are doing well — always nice to hear from you.

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