Attributes of Sage

February 5, 2016 at 9:49 PM Leave a comment

Attributes of Sage

“If you try to grab hold of the world

And do what you want with it,

You won’t succeed.

The world is a vessel for spirit, and

It wasn’t meant to be manipulated.

Tamper with it, and you’ll spoil it.

Hold it, and you’ll lose it.

With Tao, sometimes you move ahead,

And sometimes you stay back.

Sometimes you work hard,

And sometimes you rest.

Sometimes you’re strong,

And sometimes you’re weak.

Sometimes you’re up,

Sometimes you’re down.

The sage remains sensitive.

Avoiding extremes,

Avoiding extravagance,

Avoiding excess.

–Lao Tzu — @ 600 B.C.

During February, we are going to look at this deceptively simple Chinese prescription for being a sage, who is a wise woman or man, one who inspires others by living in authenticity and truth: remain sensitive, avoid extremes, avoid extravagance, and avoid excess.

Why are we doing this strange thing, you might ask. Because when I read these words, the thought came to me: “Well, there’s the blog for February.” And, so, here’s the blog for February.

We begin with the word “sensitive,” a word which I bet has been used to describe each of us: YOU ARE SO SENSITIVE. This accusation is usually flung at those of us who are labeled TOO sensitive by someone who, in our opinion, is not being sensitive enough or perhaps not being sensitive at all.


Iwager almost every one of us reading this blog has been told we are too sensitive. What that means, usually, is that someone has just hurt our feelings and instead of apologizing for it, blames us for being TOO sensitive. “You shouldn’t have your feelings hurt because I said you were fat or lazy or stupid. It’s just The Truth.” You see, people can get away with saying rude and cruel things if they can simply blame the innocent party instead of taking responsibility.


Who is, actually, too sensitive? If you upset me who is to say I’m too sensitive rather than you being too insensitive? Here’s the difference. People who are sensitive are too kind and caring to blame insensitive people for being insensitive. People who are insensitive, are more than willing to blame sensitive people for being too sensitive. The nice guy takes the fall.


Being sensitive means to be emotionally aware, to read the feelings of others, to sense the tone of a room, to respond empathically, to perceive nuances, and to react creatively, which is to say beyond the black and white of a situation.

Sensitive people are rarely black and white thinkers or feelers. Sensitive people do not make you wrong to make themselves right. Sensitive people are able to listen to opposing or different or previously unknown viewpoints and try to incorporate aspects of those viewpoints into their reality.


Iam a Christian, for example, but I am a sensitive person. If you are a Buddhist or a Muslim or a Taoist, I will listen to you and find what we have in common, instead of what we are saying differently. If you use the word “spirit” or “creator” instead of the word “God,” which is probably the word I would use, we may still be saying the same thing but using different language. Instead of describing a “sage,” as Lao Tzu does in our poem, a Christian might describe a saint or a prophet or a good person. A good person will remain sensitive.


Agood person will “do onto others as he or she would have others do onto him or her.” A good person will feed the hungry, clothe the naked and tend to the poor. A good person will be “The Good Samaritan.” A good person will remain sensitive when the world is trying to harden and divide us one from another.

We must remain sensitive whether we say we believe in God or not. We must remain sensitive to our carbon footprint and the endangered species and the impoverished children and the lonely elderly who are sitting forgotten in their  rooms eating cat food.

Asensitive person is never untouched by the misery or pain of another. If I can watch you go hungry or slowly die of loneliness or a broken heart and do nothing to help you, I am a fool. Remember the song, “What kind of fool am I?”


What kind of fool am I who never fell in love, it seems that I’m the only one that I have been thinking of. What kind of man is this, an               empty shell, a lonely cell in which an empty heart must dwell.

"There but for the Grace of God go I.” As John Dunne so eloquently said: “Ask not for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee.”    What happens to the least of these, happens to me, also.

We must remain sensitive, or we humans will not remain. It is that simple and that profound. “The world is a vessel for spirit.” The world offers us a way to proclaim our humanity and our place in the family of man.


Peace and blessings to each of us as we nurture our sensitive selves in the service of all life on this beautiful planet – Susan and Tony


Prayer Page:

Please leave your prayers and concerns at link below:

Supporting Scripture:

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 (ESV)

“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.” Romans 8:5 (ESV)

“Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? ” Matthew 16:24-26 (ESV)

“And from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.” Acts 20:30 (ESV)

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” Matthew 7:1-4 (ESV)


 More support is yours at the following websites:


Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Culture of Fear V Attributes of Sage II

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