Fill your bowl to the brim and it will spill. Keep sharpening your knife and it will blunt. Chase after money and security and your heart will never unclench. Care about people's approval and you will be their prisoner. Do your work, then step back. The only path to serenity.
- Verse 9 of Tao Te Ching
This entire verse speaks to the majority of things which make me unhappy on a daily basis. I recently had a long talk with my mom about cultivating the ability to step away from my work. For me, school work is constantly on my mind, I set myself a schedule, which is good, but then if I don't get things done in the time I had set aside, I am super hard on myself and will be distracted until I am able to catch up.
Caring about people's approval has always been a problem for me, which takes it's form in social anxiety. I have spent much of my adult life battling the fact that I actually get physically ill if faced with unpleasant social situations. Interesting, though, that I never saw this as a part of my spiritual journey. Clearly, in this verse, Lao Tzu has pin pointed how much social anxiety made me a prisoner, and I am so happy to be casting of those shackles more and more each day.
Above all, this verse speaks of moderation to me. Moderation is a matter I feel I need to introduce into every aspect of my life. Diet, clutter, TV, FB, and various unproductive leisure activities are areas where I tend to either be too lenient or to strict. Each of these things has value, from nutrition to destressing, but can also be damaging if allowed to go unchecked. Moderation is the key not depriving, but not overindulging either.
Obviously, this is all easier said than done. But I am perfectly aware that I'm just a work in progress. :D