A large state is the lower reaches of a river-
The place where all the streams of the world unite.
The lower reaches of (the) river are the deepest reality of who I am. My being. This is the place where all the streams of the world unite. The streams are all the various interactions I experience within the world. The streams are the bits and pieces of my nature, talents, strengths and weaknesses, biases and fears. These are of me, but not me. Who then am I?
When a stream of my life is causing chaos, I can find some peace by being still and returning to the lower reaches. From there I can put the streams into perspective.
The times when I judge others, I am really judging some stream of their being, and not really aware of the lower reaches. And even then, I’m just judging a stream which is at odds with one of my streams.
In the union of the world,
The female always gets the better of the male by stillness.
Being still, she takes the lower position.
Taking the female lower position approach to life can be difficult, for that holds an initial sense of loss. Truth is, though, that this is just a short term loss. The long term consequences are much closer to what I was looking for all along. I’ve noticed a general rule which parallels this—’Short term loss ends in long term gain, short term gain ends in long term loss’. Or put another way ‘Short term pain advances long term pleasure…..short term pleasure advances long term pain’. It’s either pay now or pay later with interest!
By taking the lower position, I can reach harmony more quickly. My attempts to win battles and conquer life, even when momentarily successful, eventually end up with yet another battle to face. Life is an endless war, until death brings its eternal rest. Of course, while I’m alive I must fight my battles. But I’ve learned the overall male illusion of winning happiness, and find that taking a lower position within life’s battle brings me closer to real happiness.
Hence the large state, by taking the lower position, annexes the small state;
The small state, by taking the lower position, affiliates itself with the large state.
Thus the one, by taking the lower position, annexes;
The other, by taking the lower position, is annexed.
All that the large state wants is to take the other under its wing;
All that the small state wants is to have its services accepted by the other.
If each of the two wants to find its proper place,
It is meet that the large should take the lower position.
The western expression about ‘being big about something’ fits this. I have never been able to be bigger than I am, however. Thus, the large should take the lower position is not useful advice on how I should be, but rather a way of discerning how large or small I am being. Thus, I take the lower position when I’m still and large. Just being able to see who I really am helps me on my way to becoming large. The larger I am, the more I naturally take the lower position.
This describes the ideal parent—child relationship. When parents are the large state, the family relationship is harmonious. The parents only want to take the (child) under their wing. When parents are still small states (immature), relationships are competitive and chaotic. Such parents more easily live through their child and project onto him what they want for themselves; they become either over, or under, protective.
I’ll always be a small state relative to the universe. When I feel under its wing, I’m secure and at peace. I’m then able to be large, in turn, for those less secure than I, like my kids. The key, for me, is maintaining a sense of connection with the large state—(the Tao for me). When I lose this, my life tumbles into chaos and I race about in a frantic search for security. I need to be somebody! I become ultra sensitive and aggressive in the pursuit of my desires under the mistaken illusion that through meeting them I’ll regain security.