Trying to make a perfect life
is a path of great sorrow.
The perfect life cannot be built
by seeking to fulfill desires
no matter how many years are spent,
or how much effort is applied.
Desires are insatiable and endless.
If instead we see
the imperfect events,
and the ordinary people,
as the movements of the Tao,
life becomes perfect as it is.
The time comes when we realize
that the ducks will never be in a row.
It is the nature of ducks to fly about.
The house will never be perfectly clean.
It is the nature of a house to accommodate clutter.
The project will never be done just right.
It is the nature of projects to evolve
into other projects.
The future will never be perfectly secure.
It is the nature of life to be unpredictable.
Sit and watch for a moment.
Perfection will be built
from all that is imperfect.
(pages 70 & 71)
The Sage’s Tao Te Ching: Ancient Advice for the Second Half of Life
. Taoist Living
. William Martin (Spirituality & Practice site)
. William C. Martin (his website)
William Martin has been a teacher of Taoism for more than 40 years. He is the author of innovative translations of the Tao Te Ching for specific audiences including parents and couples, as well as books on the Tao and such themes as forgiveness and caring for one another. He continues to think through and write about Taoism, life, and the natural world as well as paint in the Taoist tradition.
Books William Martin has written include:
- Tales of the Happy Frog: The Beginnings
- The Activist’s Tao Te Ching: Ancient Advice for a Modern Revolution
- The Caregiver’s Tao Te Ching: Compassionate Caring for Your Loved Ones and Yourself
- The Couple’s Tao Te Ching: Ancient Advice for Modern Lovers
- The Parent’s Tao Te Ching: Ancient Advice for Modern Parents
- The Sage’s Tao Te Ching: Ancient Advice for the Second Half of Life
- The Tao of Forgiveness: The Healing Power of Forgiving Others and Yourself