What is firmly rooted cannot be pulled out;
What is tightly held in the arms will not slip loose;
Through this the offering of sacrifice by decendants will never come to an end.
The offering of sacrifice … will never come to an end because it is always there. No matter how we try to answer life’s questions, a deeper question always revolves back around to invoke a sense of awe. When the people lack a proper sense of awe, then some awful visitation will descend upon them [see ch. 72]. End and sacrifice correlate with death and mystery. After all is said and done, these remain.
Cultivate it in your person
And its virtue will be genuine;
Cultivate it in the family
And its virtue will be more than sufficient;
Cultivate it in the hamlet
And its virtue will endure;
Cultivate it in the state
And its virtue will abound;
Cultivate it in the empire
And its virtue will be pervasive.
It is what is real, not the forms that it exists in. It is shadowy and indistinct, Yet within it is an essence. This essence is quite genuine, And within it is something that can be tested [see ch. 21]. The hierarchies are certainly not shadowy. Thus, it’s all too easy to cultivate the forms for personal power and control, while it remains nearly imperceptible.
Cultivate it reminds me of cultivating seeds. The seed of the constant, the mysterious sameness, is ever present. As with a seed, if I pay attention and cultivate it, it can grow to become a deeply rooted part of my life. Without attention, however, the seed just remains a seed.
Hence look at the person through the person; look at the family through the
family; look at the hamlet through the hamlet; look at the state through the
state; look at the empire through the empire.
How do I know that the empire is like that? By means of this.
How do …… that? By means of this, pulls this whole chapter together. The it which I cultivate is not over there, but right here, within me. This points to what is right here and now.
When I put myself in another’s shoes, I am looking at the person through the person. That person becomes this person, and I can really know and understand. Conversely, when I look at another relative to my own needs, (agenda) I just end up passing judgment. In effect, I become the center of the universe. Judgments only reveal who I am.
I love the word this. It directs inward. If I’m to know anything about that, I can only do so through this. This is all I really have. That is always over there. Life’s fantasies lie in the notion that I can escape this reality by reaching that. The grass is always greener, as they say. However, when I get that, I’m still left with this. It’s surprising how long it took me to figure that out, and still…
Looking at that through this is not really hard to do, I find. And it brings much peace of mind. So, why don’t I practice this always. Well, I do cultivate it as much as possible. What seems to get in the way are my personal needs, fears, and desires. These emotions bring me into competition with that, instead of co-operation.