Tao Te Ching Verse 46translation by Isabella MearsWhen Tao was manifested to humanity,Horses were used for cultivating the fields.When Tao was hidden within itself,War horses were reared on the frontiers.There is no sin greater than desire,There is no misfortune greater than discontent,There is no calamity greater than the wish to acquire,Therefore to be satisfied is an everlasting sufficiency.Photo by Charles Deluvio on UnsplashWe are the WarhorsesA horse can be either a utility animal or a weapon. Just like our ego idea back in verse 39, isn’t it? We can use our egos for selfish pursuits or we can use our sense of self awareness to create beautiful things. So if we can imagine ourselves for a moment as neutral entities, just like the horse in this verse, can we observe how things feel different in peacetime and wartime in our homes, our work, and with friends?At home, what does it look like when it's peacetime? Everyone is doing their thing, life is pretty tranquil. Dinner time is nice. There is a feeling of contentment there, like ah, this is what it’s supposed to be like, isn’t there? How do you feel?But what about when there are disagreements, no matter how small? Can you feel the ‘not quite right’ feeling? What do you do in these cases? Try to weather the storm, add your influence to the strife to make it go your way? How does this feel?At work, when everyone is working as a team and the mission is getting done in a productive, feel-good way - how does that feel? Pretty good, in my experience, like things are as they should be. Idk about you but for me it feels so good in those moments, like they’re perfect moments, when all cylinders are firing, the machine is well oiled, and it is producing things with precision and with regular timing.Sometimes it seems that those moments are few and far between, depending on your work culture - who’s there, what the leader’s like, what the chemistry seems to feel like. And when your workplace isn’t having those moments of pure...purpose, what’s it like then? Things getting done but with little eddies of discontent flowing around, sometimes catching you and sometimes missing you. What does that feel like?With friends, a get together is a happy occasion, isn’t it? Everyone’s there, enjoying each other’s company, doing their own thing. Until so and so opens their mouth and starts creating drama, right? You either watch it, join in, or avoid the drama, right? Regardless of your level of participation, how does that make you feel?So we’ve had a look at what peacetime and wartime look like in our daily lives. And just like the verse, there is a common element to it, isn’t there? In the verse, it’s a horse. In your life, it’s you. Lao Tzu is talking about the state in the first part here - what happens when the state is at peace and at war. What he doesn’t mention specifically about the state of the state is why it’s sometimes at peace and sometimes at war. Is it due to outside forces? Or is it due to the state’s state of discontent? I think it’s safe to say that while the first part of this verse seems to be about government discontent, we can apply it to ourselves. So if the common element is you in your daily life, ask yourself - how much of my daily war and peace comes from my discontent?