Lao Tzu and Alan Watts : Finding inner peace.

“Cut out cleverness and there are no anxieties.

People in general are so happy, as if enjoying a feast,

Or as going up a tower in spring.

I alone am tranquil, and have made no sign,

Like a baby who is yet unable to smile;

Forlorn as if I had no home to go to.

Others all have more than enough,

And I alone seem to be in want.

Possibly mine is the mind of the fool,

Which is so ignorant.

The vulgar are bright,

And I alone seem to be dull.

The vulgar are discriminative,

And I alone seem to be blunt.

I am negligent as if being obscure;

Drifting, as if being attached to nothing.

The people in general all have something to do,

And I alone seem to be impractical and awkward.

I alone am different from others,

But I value seeking sustenance from the Mother (Tao)


Become unaffected; 1

Cherish sincerity;

Belittle the personal;

Reduce desires.”

1. “Unaffected” is an attempt to render ‘Su’, a character which refers originally to unbleached silk, or to the unpainted silk background of a picture.

The above is Alan Watts’ translation of a poem by Lao Tzu, the founder of Taoism, a branch of Chinese philosophy which believes in harmony stemming from spontaneity.


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