Published on February 2nd, 2021 | by Randy Weeks0
The View From The Balcony: Ruling Rightly – Ancient Wisdom
The Tao Te Ching, the Chinese spiritual classic by Lao Tzu, gives guidance on many things, including the kind of leadership that builds a strong and healthy nation. It says,
The highest type of ruler is one of whose existence the people are barely aware.
Next comes one whom they love and praise.
Next comes one whom they fear.
Next comes one whom they despise and defy.
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have their work cut out for them. Any administration does. Their immediate challenges are to attack and eradicate the Coronavirus, to aid the millions who are so adversely affected by the pandemic, to bring healing to a deeply divided country, and to begin to return integrity to our government. None of those will happen overnight.
How will all this be accomplished? Surely not through bullying, swagger, pompousness, or violence or we’d already be there. We will reach our higher goals—our loftiest callings—through potent humility, compelling service, and bold action.
Hence, if a great country can lower itself before a small country, it will win over the small country . . . it behooves a great country to lower itself (Lao Tzu).
Lowering one’s self in this sense doesn’t mean giving up or giving in. It is more about service. A great country does not lord it over its people or the people of another country, but seeks to help the people by seeing to it that their basic needs are met and that all have the same opportunity to experience a life of fullness and meaning. That is accomplished when leaders walk among the people, listen to their stories, and govern in ways that benefit the lowliest of its citizenry rather than lining their own pockets with wealth and empty accolades.
If only the ruler and his people would refrain from harming each other, all the benefits of life would accumulate in the kingdom (Lao Tzu).
The most basic tenet of every helping profession is to first do no harm. A great leader seeks to govern in ways that lifts up the population. A great leader does not oppress but seeks to create a state of equality and justice in which all people may thrive.
A leader is never so great as when they kneel to attend to the most helpless.
A leader is never so great as when they help shoulder the burden of the downtrodden stranger.
A leader is never so great as when they show generosity to the poor.
A leader is never so great as when they seek opportunities to serve in the quiet places of the world.
A leader is never so great as when they spur others to reach their noblest goals.
A great leader is passionate for life and liberty.
A great leader expects the best from others and gives their best to them.
A great leader knows how to work and how to play,
how to laugh and how to cry,
how to give and how to receive,
how to love and how to be loved.
A great leader houses honor in their heart.
A great leader does all that is within their power
to live their life fully and fruitfully,
and seeks to bring that out in others (Adapted from “The True Measure of Greatness” by Randall S. Weeks in The Language of Success, Blue Mountain Arts, Inc., 1999).
Will we see great leadership from the Biden-Harris administration? I think so. I hope so. I pray so. We sure could use it. Only time will tell.
…and that’s the view from The Balcony.
Randy Weeks is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Life Coach. He can be reached at email@example.com.