Taoteching 15

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It is not possible to know the sage whose mind is conformed by the nameless way. We can only observe her behavior.

Cautious she is, like a company crossing a minefield.

Ready, like an army on the morning of a great battle.

Dignified, like a visiting sovereign.

Unpredictable, like the vagueries of weather.

Simple, like the lowest foot-soldier.

When confused like muddied water, the sage stills her mind and gradually reacquires clarity.

She does not seek comfort, so she can endure setbacks, and does not suffer in times of hardship.

"Tell me, Gabhopper, why are you undertaking instruction in my path?"

"I want to be like you, Xena."

"Only the outward actions of a warrioress can be observed, never her guarded inner core. A warrioress takes care."

"I do that too, Xena. Before I say something, I always qualify it with, 'I may be wrong about this, but...' or 'I'm not really sure, but...'" or "This will sound dumb, but..."

"That is not what I mean by protecting your center, Gabhopper. You don't even realize it, but with such self-effacing language as you describe, you are really playing down your intelligence in order to gain acceptance from the opposite sex."

"So you are saying that mincing words is not true humility, but actually a form of display?"

"Yes! And when your tentative speech becomes a habit, you begin to automatically think bad of yourself. This serves only to perpetrate the Patriarchy. Tell others what you know and feel, gently, but firmly. A warrioress may doubt others, but she never doubts herself."

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