Right now the title of the next book is probably going to be Sovereignty – The Mother Principle of Power. Section One of the book will be a study of important Tao principles such as Karma, Emptiness, Wu Wei et al. One of the important virtues will be about the principle of Mystic Virtue which in itself is a study of inherent power. Section Two of the book will be a study of virtue and their inherent powers. In chapter 64, Lao Tzu says of Mystic Virtue, “it is so profound, so far reaching”. To understand why virtue is so powerful, one must realize the insights in Mystic Virtue. This is definitely a game changer on the path to Sovereignty.
<from the rough manuscript>
A Study Of Mystic Virtue
Mystic Virtue is so profound, so far-reaching
It goes opposite to material things
Then it reaches great congruence
Excerpt (v13,14,15) from Chapter 65, Tao Te Ching
Why is cultivating and knowing mystic virtue so important? Its power is realized when it reached great congruence. Masters and Sages who have integrated this aspect of Sovereignty are sought out because of their great wisdom and success at life. Their powers are mysterious and profound. They accomplish great things effortlessly and with joy. Because of this mysterious ability, people seek them out for guidance. They are loved and cherished.
There are two main aspects of Mystic Virtue to study. The “Inherent Power” of virtue, and the right choice of “The Two Standards.”
A study of mystic virtue is one of cultivating a mysterious and unusual power. But this power is not what you might think. Tao masters and sages attain a different kind of power. Think of someone in your society that you think of as powerful. Consider what kind of power or powers they wield. Examples might be the Mayor of your city or town. Or perhaps it is your Commanding Officer, your professor or your boss. Maybe you are thinking about a powerful Bull or some type of powerful beast. Perhaps you are even considering a shaman who can conjure the wind and rain. While these are all examples of power the power I am talking about is altogether different. It is something called inherent power.
An observation of inherent power reveals that it is hiding in plain sight. You have used it or have been witness to it at various times but maybe never viewed it as significant. What I speak of is a virtuous power. Virtue has two meanings. The obvious one is the one we know as being a high moral standard or action. The other one is as an inherent power.
Consider this example:
“by virtue of her patience and self-discipline, she was able to lose 100 pounds.”
“ by virtue of his reputation of honesty, he was able to gain the trust of the staff.”
Change the phrase “by virtue of” to “because of” and you will gain the insight of inherent power. This is the inherent power of virtue. Masters and sages merge with this power so skillfully that they make the hardest tasks or goals seem easy. They can share insights that bring clarity to murkiness. There is definitely a level of mystique in how they always seem to know and see clearly and so it gained the the description of “mystic“ (mysterious) . Thus it became known as “mystic virtue”.
The Two Standards.
The essence of mystic virtue is to be mindful of the two standards (virtue vs ego) and to take the right action. The inherent power is demonstrated when you are aware of ego intentions but hold to the way of virtue. In every moment you have a choice between spirit and ego intentions. To know both standards but to hold to virtue is called mystic virtue.
Three chapters in the Tao Te Ching show us how to cultivate and attain this mysterious power. They are chapters 10, 51, and 65. These three chapters hold far more that can be discussed in one chapter. So here is an overview of what is required and how to cultivate. They show the two standards of realizing the two standards and taking the right action (choice). As you go through each of these chapters below, look for the two standards and understanding how Lao Tzu is encouraging you to choose the way of mystic virtue.
Chapter 10 addresses the mindset for cultivating and implementing mystic virtue. The two standards are
- self-awareness vs distraction
- true-self vs ego.
You cannot choose the right action (virtue) without self-aware and mindful of ego influences.
Chapter 51 describes how the Tao and naturally follows mystic virtue with right action.
- “Produces without possession”
- “Acts without flaunting”
- “Nurtures without domination”
The Tao naturally produces (creates) with possessing. Living creatures are free to take from nature all of what they need. Nature, having no ego, acts without showing off. It nurtures (sustains us) without any need to control or dominate.
Chapter 65 instructs us on using mystic virtue in interpersonal relationships and governing our lives (Sovereignty).
- Simplicity vs cleverness
Using complexity and cleverness to manage your life and the people in it goes against nature. Most reasonable people will always listen to or follow those who speak and act simply and honestly. Using trickery, complexity to dominate or control others will always lead to a bad end.
Here is a consolidated list compiled from the 3 chapters:
- Be steadfast without straying (self-aware/mindful)
- Be without imperfections (seeing reality as it is)
- Concentrate the energy and reach relaxation like an infant (relaxed and free of stress)
Be without imperfections in your perspective (detached observation)
Be without manipulation in your personal interactions (the feminine principle)
- Create without possession (free of attachment to outcome and personal gain)
- Achieve without arrogance (humility)
- Raise without domination (help or assist with expectation or compensation)
- Produces but possess (give freely)
- Act but not flaunt (action with ego vanity)
- Nurture but not dominate (holding to the feminine principles)
- Simplicity rather than cleverness in dealing with people (honesty, simple)
- Know the ego way but choosing the Tao (the way). Right action
Look for the inherent power in choosing the right standard. In the list above, put the phrase “by virtue of being …” in front of each line. Consider what the mystic power will produce.
Example: By virtue of being steadfast without straying I was able to ….
If you are a leader, think of your subjects. If you are a parent, think of your children. If you are a boss, think of your subordinates. Be the sovereign in both the inner and outer world. Be mindful of the two standards and choose the action; the way of mystic virtue. If you do this with consistency, you will cultivate a great inherent power. This is the way of the sovereign, at one with the Tao.