The sage of old was profound and wise;
like a man at a ford, he took great care,
alert, perceptive and aware.
Desiring nothing for himself,
and having no desire
for change for its own sake,
his actions were difficult to understand.
Being watchful, he had no fear of danger;
being responsive, he had no need of fear.
He was courteous like a visiting guest,
and as yielding as the springtime ice.
Having no desires, he was untouched by craving.
Receptive and mysterious,
his knowledge was unfathomable,
causing others to think him hesitant.
Pure in heart, like uncut jade,
he cleared the muddy water
by leaving it alone.
By remaining calm and active,
the need for renewing is reduced.
Taoism - Stan Rosenthal's Tao Te Ching - Translation