Why Don’t the Rivers Go Straight?
I came across this interesting article. It coincides with the doctrine of Tao Te Ching’s Chapter 22, which I posted on my blog earlier. I thought this Chinese article** would help you all to understand Chapter 22 better, so I translated it from Chinese and will share it with you here.
The wise man once spread a map of China on the table.
He asked: “What are the characteristics of the rivers in this picture?”
Disciple answered: “They are not straight lines, they are curved lines.”
The wise man continued to ask:
“Why is it so? Why does the river not to take the straight road, but take a detour?”
The disciples began to discuss. Some said the river had detours and lengthened the flow of the river so that the stream could have greater flow, so when the summer flood came, the river would not be overwhelmed by the water.
Also, due to the lengthening of the rivers, the flow of each section of the river was relatively reduced, and the impact of the river on the riverbed was weakened, thus protecting the riverbed.
“All of you said is right,” the wise man nodded, then said slowly:
“But in my opinion, the most fundamental reason why rivers do not go straight is that detour is a normal state in nature. It is an abnormal state to go straight, because the river will encounter a variety of obstacles, and some obstacles are insurmountable.
Therefore, it takes the curved path and detours to avoid barriers one after another, and eventually arrives and flows into the distant sea. ”
Here, the wise man commented:
In fact, life is the same. When people meet with difficulties and setbacks, they should also see the twists and turns of life as normal, and to not be disappointed. Do not sigh, do not become stagnant, and take detours as another form or another way, so that you can reach the distant sea of life just like a river.
As it states in Tao Te Ching 22-
To yield is to be preserved whole.
To be bent is to become straight.
To be hollow is to be filled.
To be tattered is to be renewed.
To be in want is to possess.
To have plenty is to be confused.
In life, we might as well bend or follow the curve when we encounter the challenges; then we will see the bright future awaits us.