Tao Te Ching 67

Some say that my teaching is nonsense.

Others call it lofty but impractical.

But to those who have looked inside themselves,

this nonsense makes perfect sense.

And to those who put it into practice,

this loftiness has roots that go deep.

I have just three things to teach:

simplicity, patience, compassion.

These three are your greatest treasures.

Simple in actions and in thoughts,

you return to the source of being.

Patient with both friends and enemies,

you accord with the way things are.

Compassionate toward yourself,

you reconcile all beings in the world.

Ever since I first read Chapter 67 of the Tao Te Ching, I made it my favorite. After all, I read it as directed to me as a teacher and about what is most important about my work. I shared it with my eighth graders several times. And I have read it on my own often.

Recently, I had the opportunity to introduce Taoism to some middle schoolers in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico where I now live. After our lessons, one student wanted to have further conversation about Taoism. During our conversation (she had a remarkable grasp of the Way of Taoism), I choose to read Chapter 67 to her. As I was reading it, it suddenly made sense! I saw myself amidst “simplicity, patience, compassion.” I felt each of these qualities deep within and knew that I had chosen them for my teaching. Before, I had read the words, certainly admired them, and maintained my allegiance to them.

But not until I had reentered Taoism with young people for a couple of days and then was gifted to have a conversation with a wise fifteen-year-old did I learn the true teaching of Chapter 67 of the Tao.

For more about great teaching see Teaching from the Middle of the Room: Inviting students to Learn from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Teaching-Middle-Room-Frank-Thoms/dp/0615358918.