When the ruler knows his own heart,
the people are simple and pure.
When he meddles with their lives,
they become restless and disturbed.
Bad fortune is what good fortune leans on;
good fortune is what bad fortune hides in.
Who knows the ultimate end of this process?
Is there no norm of right?
Yet what is normal soon becomes abnormal;
peoples’s confusion is indeed long-standing.
Thus the master is content to serve as an example
and not to impose his will.
He is pointed but does not pierce;
he straightens but does not disrupt;
he illuminates but does not dazzle.
This verse Lao-tzu is showing us the importance of how we perceive situations and people in our lives and how we react to them. “When the ruler knows his own heart, the people are simple and pure”. This is because when you are connected to your true self and know yourself, you aren’t directing those beliefs onto other people.
You can be pointed but no pierce, illuminated but not dazzling. When you follow your beliefs and what guides your life there is no need to dazzle for everyone to see and agree with that belief. Your thoughts and beliefs are shaped by who you are, experiences around you and the thoughts in your mind.
That view of the world can change at any given time just as fortune or bad fortune can. Think about a situation in your life where everything seems to be going bad. As you attract more of those thoughts of misfortune the more you attract. That streak of bad situations can easily change as can your view of why its happening or why it won’t happen.
“People’s confusion is indeed long-standing”. Interesting how bad situations linger longer than good ones do. You imposing your belief on someone else will be remembered longer than a good deed you did for that same person.
Live your life and follow the direction it is meant to flow. Follow your beliefs without ego and people with similar beliefs will gravitate to your confidence and your good will without you deliberately showcasing the way you think they should think.