‘Til the Mud Settles and the Water is Clear

Screenshot 2024 01 14 At 10.07.48 am

‘Til the Mud Settles and the Water is Clear

Chris Davis


The question is:

“Do you have the patience to wait
’til your mud settles and the water is clear?
Can you remain unmoving
’til the right action arises by itself?”

That’s from the Tao Te Ching — which I’d like to pretend to have studied closely, but no, I just ran across the quote online.

Anyway, it’s sticking with me right now.

I looked up an explanation, which talked about “cultivating an ethic of patience,” letting things take their time. I can get annoyed with that kind of talk, all wispy and non-specific, with a profound ring to it. Like you’re getting a bite-sized sample of how enlightened beings think, like “yeah, I’ll come around to that once I’m enlightened too, I’m sure…”

I don’t know about you, but I have to distract myself with busy-ness to create the appearance of patience. It kinda works. It fills and refills the time in between, like breathing. But if you imagine you’re trying to play a longer game, sometimes you’ve just got to allow for a long pause before the next move…



Feature photo by the author.

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