7.3 The Tao is always at ease. It overcomes without competing, answers without speaking a word, arrives without being summoned, accomplishes without a plan. Its net covers the whole universe. And though its meshes are wide, it doesn’t let a thing slip through.

(From the Tao Te Ching, or The Book of the Way, by Lao-tzu, Pub. Harper Collins Publishers. Trs. Stephen Mitchell)

The following is excerpted from Stephen Mitchell’s magnificently researched Forward. His easy colloquial grace makes this hitherto difficult book available to all human spiritual consciousness for the very first time in English publishing history that I know of … :

“Lao-tzu’s central figure is a man or woman whose life is in perfect harmony with the way things are. This is not an idea; it is a reality; I have seen it. The Master has mastered Nature; not in the sense of conquering it, but of becoming it. In surrendering to the Tao, in giving up all concepts, judgments, and desires, her mind has grown naturally compassionate. She finds deep in her own experience the central truths of the art of living, which are paradoxical only on the surface: that the more truly solitary we are, the more compassionate we can be; the more we let go of what we love, the more present our love becomes; the clearer our insight into what is beyond good and evil, the more we can embody the good.” – Stephen Mitchell. 

Here is a summary, from the book, of Stephen Mitchell’s other work:

Stephen Mitchell has written extensively about spirituality, drawing from both Eastern and Western traditions. He is a poet and one of the world’s preeminent translators — of Rilke; Psalms; Genesis; Job; of Yehuda Amichai; the Bhagavad Gita; Tao Te Ching; and of other essential works. He is the author of the bestselling and critically acclaimed novel Meetings with the Archangel; the editor of such collections as The Enlightened Mind (sacred prose) and The Enlightened Heart (sacred poetry). His books for children include The Wishing Bone and Other Poems; The Creation; The Nightingale. Stephen Mitchell’s The Gospel According to Jesus, from which his Jesus: What He Really Said and Did is derived, is one of the definitive and most-heralded books on the Jesus of history and of faith.”


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