Tao 66

Looking at the wide expanse of the great river valley,
One can forget that it was shaped and nourished
By the river that flows humbly through it.
This is because the river, even as it exerts its influence, recedes,
Settling into the lowest position,
Following the countours of the valley that it has carved.

So it should be with leaders and followers.

One who leads from the front is blind to the needs of those being led.
A true leader leads from within the crowd,
Embracing the whole and moving along with it,
A true leader is of the crowd, not above the crowd,
And so is not resented.

As the valley guides the river,
the river shapes the valley.

Leaders and people find their way,
Not by knowing the path,
But by walking it.


All 81 chapters of our version of the Tao Te Ching are available online for free here. If you are so inclined, an updated version of our translation is available as an e-book, here.

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