Sunday, October 09, 2005

Tao of Teams
by Crescencio Torres

SINCE the text emerged from the mind of Lao Tzu two millennia ago, countless individuals have tried to understand its cryptic statements. Its sometimes strange and puzzling descriptions have befuddled mankind from China to America. There lies its attraction and mystic wisdom.

Look, and it can't be seen
Listen, and it can't be heard
Reach, and it can't be grasped
BEARING these cryptic words of Tao in mind, the journey begins. But the
first thing a novice entering the sacred sanctuary of Tao will have to
learn is that there are no rules - normal rules, that is.
Tao is as mystical as when it was first written in the fourth century BC
by Lao Tzu of China. Over 2,000 years have passed, and the world continues
to be fascinated by the `Book of the Way', as some call it. Thus the
titles here, which are interconnected although written by different
The wonderful thing about Tao books is that they are often short on the
text but abundant in meaning. That's the way of the Tao. If Tao can be
described, it is not so.
Dalton, author of The Tao Te Ching, is the only one of the three who
elaborates, at some length, the practical principles of Tao in relation to
daily living. His approach is systematic and academic. He provides his own
interpretations of the various chapters of Tao Te Ching and prods the
reader to apply his explanations to numerous situations, at the workplace
or in relationships.
Dalton's work is similar yet different from that of Stephen Mitchell,
who translated Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching (1988) in almost poetic verses,
which served to mystify what was already obscure to many people.
Mitchell's translation was beautiful to read whereas Dalton appeals to
those who like their Tao fare cut and dried.
Unfortunately, if old Master Lao was still alive, he would say, "You are
missing the point altogether". Tao, as propounded by more than 30 editions
through this century, must be felt rather than understood, realised rather
than visualised.
Pamela Metz's contribution on Tao is the `shortest' by comparison. She
writes for the teachers. In essence, one could say she comes closest to
the core of the ancient teachings. Metz dwells on learning and unlearning.
In her simplicity of thought, The Tao of Learning shines out like a beacon
over a land shrouded by a veil of darkness.
As Metz tells it, "Let the natural flow of life be present in your
learning; allow the unexpected and the unknown to appear without
announcement. When this happens, the teacher and the taught can experience
together that which is new to all of them."
Students and teachers alike should find Metz's book an educational
The Tao of Teams by Cresencio Torres is basically ancient wisdom
intermingling with the corporate world. Torres links Tao principles with
human resource development and shows the path to harmony in the office and
solidarity with your colleagues.
How we all wish it was that simple. Nevertheless, Torres has found some
answers of his own. He has erected some sign-posts for team-building, with
the helping hand of Master Lao Tzu.
All three books have their merits because the principles of Tao are so
pervasive and encompassing that they can be applied in almost any living
condition, be it in the jungle or city.
It is highly recommended that readers should not take the books as
infallible texts which guarantee successful living. There have been
countless books on Tao in the last decade. John Heider's Tao of
Leadership, which maps strategies for a new age, and Ray Grigg's Tao of
Relationships, which touches on friendship and love, are just two blades
of grass on a tropical mountain forest.
There is no right answer in Tao; the solution dwells within oneself. As
Lao Tzu put it, the three greatest treasures are simplicity, patience and
compassion. These qualities bear a striking similarity to the teachings of
all the world's major religions.
Metaphorically, Dalton, Metz and Torres have all seen the sunrise, and
the sunset. They have their own stories to tell, in their individual ways.
It would be too presumptuous of one who is not wise to conclude that they
have failed, or succeeded.
In essence, and in all humility, these doctorate-holders have, in a
nutshell, proclaimed that Tao is like an unexpected, delightful cool
breeze embracing you on a lovely morning. An adult would probably breathe
in deeply, then turn towards the rising sun. On the other hand, a child
would in all probability raise his hands and laugh. Surely the child is
one with Tao.
All three books are thought-provoking and will in some way trigger some
personal reflection. But one thing is sure: somewhere out there among the
masses are a few whose time has come. After they have read any one of
these titles, their lives will change forever.
On this subject, there is no conclusion. In the words of Lao Tzu:
True words aren't eloquent
eloquent words aren't true
Wise men don't need to prove their point;
men who need to prove their point aren't wise.

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