We are born gentle and weak. At death we are hard and stiff. Green plants are tender and filled with sap. When they die they are withered and dry. Therefore the stiff and unbending are the disciples of death. The gentle and yielding are the disciples of life.
from the Tao Te Ching
Save your servant, O Sustainer of Life,
from too early a death.
Free me of that affliction of believers
who so easily become rigid of heart
in their journeys to you.
Make my heart like the green willow tree
that easily bends in the wind,
that bows gracefully before the storm
only to raise its head again with renewed life
when the angry clouds have moved on.
Fill me this day, I pray,
with the strength of your Spirit,
the strength to be flexible and ever-green.
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Create within me the heart
of a disciple of life,
a heart that is gentle and meek.
Let me learn a lesson from your daughter water
who seeks the lowest path,
ever yielding and humble,
yet wears down the strongest stones into sand.
In her I see the wisdom of the Tao:
“The hard and strong will fall;
the soft and meek shall overcome.”
From Prayers for a Planetary Pilgrim by Ed Hays
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