The Second verse of the Tao, by Lao-Tzu. Much like the fortune from a cookie or the horoscope from the newspaper, can we find the relevance to ourselves? Is there something we can gain from this verse that can help guide us along on our quest for strength?
This verse touches on duality and paradoxical thinking. That you can't have one with out the other. Notice though that it starts with "Under Heaven." Under heaven all can see beauty as beauty, only because there is ugliness. Under heaven means here on Earth. Up above, in the world of spirit, all is one. There are no opposites. God knows nothing of ugly. To him, it is all beautiful.
For us under heaven, we cannot define one with out the other. How can we know light without dark? To know strength we must first understand weakness. This goes for the body and the spirit. Where are you weak? For the Girevik, how is your Swing? Where are your weaknesses? Do you have leakage? Now the next question comes about; do you have the inner strength to push aside your ego and embrace your weakness in order to cultivate it into strength.
So the sage lives openly with apparent duality and paradoxical unity.
As a practitioner of strength, can one live with their weakness? Can one, as an instructor or teacher teach without judgment? Can the sage, see the dichotomy of weakness and strength allowing them to flow and then fuse the weakness into strength. Recently, I saw a quote from Goethe that defines a good teacher and shows the merging of what this verse is about:
"If I accept you as you are, I will make you worse; however if I treat you as though you are what you are capable of becoming, I help you become that."
There is no judgment here. This is allowing what already exists to blossom. And so it goes with strength. We already have the strength we need. With the faith of a mustard seed, I can move mountains, right? In Pavel Tsatsouline's Power to the People, Pavel talks of mother's deadlifting a car to save their child? The strength is already there. Allow it to flow from you, grow out of you, blossom upwards.
The sage can act without effort and teach without words.
All this line tells me is that Lao-Tzu was probably an RKC.
Nurturing things without possessing them, he works, but not for rewards; he competes, but not for results.
This line touches on something that I see as incredibly beautiful. It is also an amazing opportunity and challenge to do what Wayne Dyer calls, detaching from the outcome. Working but not for reward? Does that imply working for free? No, it means you do your absolute best every step of the way, regardless of the outcome. The outcome is irrelevant because you are in this moment and in this moment, the outcome isn't here yet. If your goal is to press you're half your bodyweight, is your focus on perfectly pressing the bell you can press now or is your mind wandering away from the task at hand? What moment are you in? Be here in this moment and just press. Just be. The reward and the results will arrive right on time if you only just focus on doing what needs to be done now, which, for example, if you're doing the Right of Passage from Enter the Kettlebell, is 5 ladders of 5 rungs with your current weight.
When the work is done, it is forgotten. That is why it lasts forever.
For today, because that is all there is, practice your strength with a knowing and understanding of your weakness. Weakness is what gives you your strength and without it, you'll never know how far you've come. Focus on being as strong as you can be in this moment. Whether you succeed or fail is of no consequence as long as your effort and your passion was full at 100% in that moment. Learn from the past, learn from your weakness, but choose not to allow it to dictate your next move. The future stronger you, with the help of your previous weaker self will merge to guide you in your quest.
After your training, take what is needed to improve and release the rest. Failure is nothing more than an opportunity to improve.
As Lance Armstrong puts it, "Live Strong."