Inner – extract from Everyday Tao by Deng Ming-Dao
The ability to persevere comes from inside ourselves. Nothing outside can give it to us. When circumstances are against us, when life tries us to our very core, when all other resources are closed to us, we must have an inner well from which we can draw power. It is like a castle in ancient times besieged by attackers. If it has its own well and its own provisions, it can hold fast until aid comes. The difference between survival and destruction is often the difference between how strong one’s inner resources are.
People look at the methods of following Tao and wonder why there is so much emphasis on preparing and training oneself. After all, the standards of the ancients are so much higher that what is normally regarded as necessary. This need for inner strength is one of the most compelling reasons for study. Life is not given to us, and fortune comes and goes without warning. Therefore, it is wisdom to have the inner reserves to withstand the lassitudes of life. It is only our inner will and energy that can be stronger than misfortune.
The wisdom of the Tao is to know the flow of the outer world. But the genius of the Tao is to establish and sustain the inner force od a person. That is our only hope of lasting long enough to follow the Tao to the end.