Daily Tao / 8 – Work

工作

man_with_axe_chopping_woo_450

The woodcutter
Works in all seasons.
Splitting wood is both
Action and inaction.

Even when it is snowy, the woodcutter must split wood. Unless he does, he and his family will not stay warm, and those who depend upon him will not survive. But the woodcutter does not work simply on a piecemeal basis. He labors in concert with the seasons : He worked hard to store wood prior to the first cold so that he would have the luxury of merely splitting kindling now. His work seems slight in one season, because he was industrious in the previous one.

When he splits wood, he must place the log on the block and raise his axe. But he must strike the wood with the grain, and he must let the axe fall with its own weight. If he tries to chop across the grain, his effort would be wasted. If he tries to add strength to the swing of the axe, there would be no gain.

Like the woodcutter, we can all benefit from working according to seasonal circumstances. Whether it is the time or the method, true labor is half initiative and half knowing how to let things proceed on their own.

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