“Men are born soft and subtle;
dead, they are stiff and hard.
Plants are born tender and pliant;
dead, they are brittle and dry.
Thus whoever is stiff and inflexible
is a disciple of death.
Whoever is soft and yielding is a disciple of life.
“The hard and stiff will be broken.
The soft and subtle will prevail. …
“Noting in the world
is as soft and yielding as water.
Yet for dissolving the hard and inflexible,
nothing can surpass it.
The soft overcomes the hard;
the gentle overcomes the rigid.
Everyone knows this is true,
but few can put it into practice.
Therefore the master remains
serene in the midst of sorrow.
Evil cannot enter his heart,
Because he has given up helping,
he is people’s greatest help.
True words seem paradoxical.” ~Lao-tzu
Soft and Subtle
Have you noticed how children can do things without getting harmed, while those same things would break an older persons bones. Young children have bones that are still flexible, while the bones of an adult are hard, and those of the elderly are often very brittle.
I’ve read that in some sports like gymnastics, it is highly recommended that children start an early age before the bones get too hard. This not only prevents injury, but helps them keep the flexibility needed for the sport. I suspect that is the same reason ballet schools like to start students at a young age.
It is also true that the young tree can bend in a storm and not be broken, while the old one that has grown stiff will likely break. Continue reading “Flexibility and Rigidity, One Grows, One Dies”