Mud Wrestling

“Do you have the patience to wait until your mud settles and the water is clear? Can you remain unmoving until the right action arises by itself?” – The Tao Te Ching

This is one of my favorite quotations from the Tao Te Ching. The idea here, as I understand it, is that the correct action makes itself clear when we give up the inner desire to find the correct action. There is a certain faith at work, a faith in one’s own serenity. If we are calm and patient, relinquishing the need to act, then we can wait until the right action manifests itself.

I am only a beginner when it comes to patience. Like most of us, I often experience the compulsion to find the right action, right now! Good spiritual teaching, however, works on becoming aware of these compulsions, letting them pass, then acting from a place of clear-mindedness and rationality.

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Jonathan Erdman

Writer. In the summers, I live and work in the incredible state of Alaska, in the bush community of McCarthy, as the Executive Director of the Wrangell Mountain Center. When not in McCarthy, you'll typically find me in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California, writing and working with local activists. My primary writing project right now is a novel set in remote bush Alaska, of the magical realism genre wherein an earnest and independent young woman finds a mysterious radio belonging to her grandmother, a device that has paranormal bandwidth and a disturbing ability to mess with one's mental stability.

One thought on “Mud Wrestling”

  1. Wonderful words. The desire for control and the need to always want to make it happen is so intense. I suppose its part of our Western heritage and the above is so foreign to our thinking; yet one begins to enter a wonderful perspective when one tries to practice this. I must say that with you, I too am just a beginner. But there’s a tremendous sense of peace which begins to settle as one seeks to live this way.


Consider this post an invitation, an invitation to comment and collaborate ~ In Solidarity, JE

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