16 November 2016

Stress-free Life comes from following the Manufacture's Handbook - DaoDeJing 52

To live a stress-free, healthy and long life, we must consult our manufacture's handbook. Then we must regularly follow the instructions. Some additional key points are closing, seeing the details, and reflect to follow the light. DaoDeJing 52
DaoDeJing Chapter 52 Text and Translation

1 天下有始,以为天下母。
The world has a beginning. It can be called the Mother of the world.

2 既得其母,以知其子,
Now that you have the Mother, you can know her children(the created things and beings)

3 既知其子,复守其母;没身不殆。
Now that you know the children, you can return to guard the Mother (Nature). Without the body is not dangerous.
(Knowing the ways of the Mother/Creator/Source and the created beings, and following the natural ways will lead to a long life without danger and even after death. Our lives did not harm the Nature).

4 塞其兑,闭其门,终身不勤。
Shut any opening. Close all the doors. There will be no stress in all our life.

5 开其兑,济其事,终身不救。
Open the openings. Trying to force the issues. Then our lives/health cannot be helped.

6 见小曰明,守柔曰强,
Seeing the little details is called a clear vision and understanding. (Seeing the little signs and can read the whole situation).
Staying gentle and flexible(able to adapt to any situation is called strong.

7 用其光,复归其明;
Follow the light/enlightenment and reflect on it will bring forth greater understanding [of Dao].

8 无遗身殃,是谓习常。
[Following the understanding of Dao] will not cause harm to our bodies. It is called always practice the natural laws [of Dao].

Understanding the Manufacturer's Handbook
Any instrument made has its manufacturer's handbook to show you how to use it. The handbook will have maintenance procedures so that you can keep it working well for a long time. This also means we can abuse the instrument is we don't follow the instructions. If we don't maintain the instrument, it will also wear down very quickly. 

Apply it to Our Lives
Men are like instruments. If we want to have a long, healthy and happy life, we must know our Creator's handbook for men. Lao Zi tells us to understand the Mother of Creation so that we may understand ourselves. From our own understandings, we can reflect and learn more about the nature and ways of the Mother of Creation. The implication is also clear. We cannot fully understand ourselves until we know the Mother of Creation. Our purpose of life cannot be found by asking men, the created being. We must ask our Creator. The Christians have a manufacture's handbook called the Bible. Other religions also have their manufacture's handbooks. Some claimed to be from the Creator God or His messengers. Some are just the thinking of men. Lao Zi tells us to observe and understand the Creator from the working of all the created things. From which, we can find the manufacturer's handbook for men. That is the Dao. Follow the Dao to have a meaningful and long life.

Practical Application - the Regular Maintenance 习常
Lao Zi gives us further advice. We must maintain our bodies by shutting off many openings that will consume our life energy. We must have regular rests and recovery times. Lusts, greed, and desires for great glory and successes are openings that consume and stress out our bodies and bring forth sicknesses eventually. Lao Zi does not tell us to be lazy and just rest. He is telling us not to over-work ourselves. We must follow the seasons and patterns of the clock of our bodies and nature. Work and rest at the right time. We can go for a big project too. But we must do it step by step and stretch our limits bit by bit. Don't be too ambitious and go overboard. 

More Finer Points of Life
  • Watch out for the details, the little seemingly insignificant things. Greater understanding comes from noticing them and they influence the total system. Higher quality goods take extra care for the details and they demand higher precisions. 
  • Be gentle and flexible to adapt to the changes in any situation. We don't have to change our mission, but we may have to change our methods, and sometimes, even our team, steps, and sub-goals. Be prepared to make a turn to take a longer route or be more patience to wait for better timing.
  • Observe the pattern, and follow what the pattern shows. Reflect and reconstruct our thinking model when some additional evidence is found. When in doubt, do some experiments. E W Deming's PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act) is a powerful tool to use.
Lim Liat (c) 16 Nov 2016

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