The highest good is like water,
nourishing life effortlessly,
flowing without prejudice
to the lowliest places.
It springs from all
who nourish their community
with a benevolent heart as deep as an abyss,
who are incapable of lies and injustices,
who are rooted in the earth,
and whose natural rhythms of action
play midwife to the highest good
of each joyful moment.
Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
We don't always know what's good for us. We don't always flow with our circumstances. The flow of life can feel like a raging torrent, or a calm sea, oscillating in pace and intensity. At times we are exhilarated, at others we hang on for dear life. It is what it is, and it is constantly moving and changing. We can find ourselves resisting the movement, unable to accept situations, or becoming impatient and forceful in our efforts.
Our lowliest places do best when allowed to exist, when allowed to voice their imbalances and prejudices, their efforts and injustices, their hopes and dreams, their disappointments and joys, their difficulties with being. This is what it means to be ordinary, to be human. We cannot nourish and balance these places until we understand them.
We have all met people whose actions come from goodness and we see the results in our communities and families. When we catch ourselves out of sync with Life's rhythm, it is often these people who help bring us back into balance. They make us laugh when we get too serious, they comfort us when we're struggling, they demand integrity and honesty when we are unwittingly lying to ourselves. They live Life, and are the best version of us.
Contemplation confirms that there is a goodness and benevolence underlying everything. Our experience shows us that Life is moving in the direction of balance, harmony and equanimity. It is not subject to negotiation, cajoling, or force. It has an all-embracing wisdom. It is effortless, yet active. Divine work is taking place. Our job is to stay in the river, and keep swimming. We are a necessary part of the flow.