My latest work in progress is tentatively titled The Art of Living: Zen Stories. Although it is comprised of a series of vignettes centered around the Tao te king it can also be read as a novel since all the parts tie into a whole. This chapter is titled Giving Way:
If I get involved with too many people that have too many problems they drag me under the waves of discontent right along beside them. They are unimportant, a waste of time. They interrupt the flow of my life and poke their noses into my business. It is like I am in a movie theater and everyone is talking so I cannot hear the sound; everyone is standing and I cannot see the screen.
But then the floor of the theater gives way; I am alone floating in interstellar space watching this movie I know nothing about. I think what a stupid thing this is; this movie has nothing to do with me. A realization hits that this movie is all there is; I sure as hell better get interested in it; once it stops I stop too.
I recognize I am in the valley of knowing and not in a movie theater at all. The valley of knowing is the meeting place of the universe; the valley of knowing is the mother of the universe. By keeping still the valley gives birth to all things. By knowing stillness I know strength.
I give way to my lover; she lays low in stillness. She overcomes my strength with her gentleness. A strong country that gives way to a weak country will conquer the smaller country. A weak country that submits to a strong country will conquer the strong country.
This is the way of the mystery.
To conquer I must learn to give way; to be conquered I must also learn to give way. A great person desires to be adored. A small person desires to adore. By coming together they each fulfill their desires. It is fitting for a great person to give way.