Work Without Doing — 63rd Verse of the Tao

63rd verse of the Tao

Practice non-action.

Work without doing.

Taste the tasteless.

Magnify the small, increase the few.

Reward bitterness with care.

See simplicity in the complicated.

Achieve greatness in little things.

Take on difficulties while they are still easy;

do great things while they are still small.

The sage does not attempt anything very big,

and thus achieves greatness.

If you agree too easily, you will be little trusted;

because the sage always confronts difficulties,

he never experiences them. — Lao-tzu


I live in a very rural and agricultural part of south-central Colorado. I recently was hired on to do field work. I initially drove my friend out to the office so she could apply for a job that she saw in the local newspaper. When we got there, my van was filled with my children waiting impatiently while playing on their cell phones. It was about 90 degrees and my friend said she would be just a minute. I decided to go in and the girl behind the desk asked if I wanted to fill out an application, so I did. I had been living in Europe for the last 6 years, and as an immigrant it was hard to find work there. I did not expect them to say, “show up in the morning, ready to work by 6am.”

I found myself in the field at 6am as they requested. The hemp plants were about to my waist in height and so were the weeds in-between plants. There are 12 crop circles making it the largest hemp company in the USA, if not the whole world. This is my second completed week of work. We work 10 hour days 6 days a week. The 63rd verse of the Tao stands out for me this week, as I write the newsletter for September.


As you might imagine, working out in the Colorado desert sun, can be extremely hot and dry. Sometimes there is drama between the field workers and managers. If it is not a dull hoe from hitting on all the rocks and weeds, it is something else. I find myself entering into a meditative state while whacking away at the weeds. I take note of my thoughts and allow simplicity in the complicated work that we are doing. I found that maintaining the fields or taking on the difficulties while they are still easy is very important. However, some of the fields have gotten completely over-grown and the sunflowers tower over my head. The weeds in-between the plants are chest high.

Yesterday, the ground was wet from the rain-shower the night before making the dirt soft. I began to pull the weeds and they easily popped out of the earth. Instead of swinging the hoe and dulling the blade. I began pulling the weeds, roots and all out of the ground. It allowed me to relax and not fight the chest high weeds and towering sunflowers. Although the field appeared very difficult, it became relatively easy to manage. The nice thing about pulling out the roots, is that we will not have to do it again later.


If you are living in the present moment, there is no such thing as difficulty. I examined my thoughts throughout the process and found comfort in the discomfort. This is a growing process not only of my physical body, but also of my mind, moment by moment until the 10 hours of hard labor are over. When my mind starts to wander, I take the thought captive and remind my body to resume the proper posture, concentrating on my biceps as I pull the weeds from the ground, acknowledging that they are getting stronger every day. By practicing living in the present moment, the weeks go by and I get stronger from bending, squatting, pulling and constantly hoeing the weeds. The movements become more accurate and are evolving naturally. This is the process of working without doing by confronting what I originally thought of as hard, resulting in the experience of achieving greatness.


Simply do what you can in the now and let the rest fade away. I can not look into the future of having to tackle all 12 fields by mid-October, so I will will just look at what I can do today. And since today is my one day off, I will finish this newsletter with a mindful thought:

“Have love and passion, in the now, to accomplish little things in life so that you achieve greatness” —Traci Moon

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