Quote of the month: Lao Tzu

On some pages of my website you will find sayings/proverbs. I chose them with care because I love poetry. The chosen proverbs say something about how I see life. Besides my personal connection with the sayings, they are often also related to the pages I put them on. I will publish ‘new’ sayings on my blog regularly and share my thoughts on them.

This week a beautiful piece by Lao Tzu:

“Water is the softest thing, yet it can penetrate mountains and earth.
This shows clearly the principle of softness overcoming hardness.”

Lao Tzu (also Laozi or Lao Tze) was a Chinese philosopher and writer. He’s the author of the famous book Tao Te Ching (also Daodeching), from which this quote was derived. Although there’s some discussion about whether he is the only author of the book, I will disregard that for now.

Now, what do I read in this saying by Lao Tzu. He shows how important context is: the same item can fulfill different functions in different situations. Water is soft, fluid and flexible. Soft characteristics, but once they touch stone; a hard item which is stiff and rigid, the water changes into a leading form of erosion. As a rule we can say that what is fluid, soft and flexible, can overcome the hard and the rigid. A life paradox: what is soft, is strong.

I compare this to kindness and resilience: if you approach people, life and your thoughts with kindness and softness, eventually you will flow through tough situations more easily.

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