This Ultimate Unity

by Christopher Lovejoy on December 15, 2013

What if everyone on this global playground could go along to get along?

Consider: no disputes, no quarrels, no battles, no conflicts, no struggles.

And just what if the actions of everyone could flow with grace and ease?

Imagine this: no competing, no contending, no contesting, no contracting.

Needless to say, the world in which we live would be a very different place.

Living, loving, learning, exploring, and creating would be par for the course.

Tao Te Ching, Verse 68

What is it about winning anyways?

Perhaps we would do better to ask this: what is it about losing? By way of response, we might console ourselves with this: “you win some, you lose some, but you live, you live to fight another day”.

Or, we might instead tweak our understanding of what it means to win and lose altogether.

A good soldier is not violent.
A good fighter is not angry.
Good winners do not contend.
Good employers serve their workers.
The best leader follows the will of the people.

All of them embody
the virtue of non-competition;
this is also called
the virtue of non-contending.
This is called employing the powers of others.

This, since ancient times,
has been known as
the ultimate unity with heaven.

Edited slightly to enhance flow and to reflect more inclusive language

Ref: Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao

The key cosmic lesson here seems to be this: take possession of yourself for the sake of diversity with respect to unity, but never lose sight of the fact that you inhabit the body of an animal.

My Impressions of the Verse

The ideas contained in this verse are full of wisdom, but my impression of this verse is that it was put together by a grade school student; the text is terse and the language is clunky.

Still, there is much to recommend the wisdom, however inadequately expressed (or translated).

A good soldier is not violent.
A good fighter is not angry.
Good winners do not contend.
Good employers serve their workers.
The best leader follows the will of the people.

Good soldiers, fighters, and winners are in possession of themselves, in alignment with the Way; in tune with the essence of who they are, they need not lose control of themselves.

Good employers know enough to see that when they serve their employees, they serve themselves.

The best leader is attuned to the will of the people, accessing crowd wisdom, as and when necessary, and providing good and fair explanations when doing so is in the best interests of the people.

All of them embody
the virtue of non-competition;
this is also called
the virtue of non-contending.
This is called employing the powers of others.

All of them are masters of inquiry (asking the right questions at the right time for the right reasons) and masters of advocacy (asserting and defending points of view with grace and ease).

Empathic communication, cooperation, and collaboration are key (In Lak’ech, Ala K’in).

This, since ancient times,
has been known as
the ultimate unity with heaven.

This ultimate unity – employing the powers of others mindfully and harmoniously with skillful, graceful, artful intent – requires a witness and a will in balance to receive and reflect a fluid, spontaneous dynamic of give and take, one that is both human and divine in nature.

Implications for Personal Fulfillment

Maybe, just maybe, personal fulfillment is what happens when a path of heart – when a path with heart – orchestrates a life harmoniously (peacefully, gracefully, blissfully) with this ultimate unity.

One need not be a soldier, a fighter, a winner, or an employer to reap the benefits of this ultimate unity, but one does need to appreciate the burdens and blessings of leading by serving, if only modestly.

Intent on mastering inquiry and advocacy through empathic communication, cooperation, and collaboration with any individual or group, we will find our way to ultimate unity with heaven.

Next up: On Losing Enemies (Living Without Enemies)

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This post is one of many in an ongoing series that began here.

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