"One day a student knocked on Chuang-tzu's door. The student had heard of Chuang-tzu's great wisdom from other teachers and had traveled a great distance to learn. He had studied many forms of philosophy, always seeking to add to his understandings. Chuang-tzu answered the door and the student said: 'I am an ardent student of philosophy and I have heard that you are very knowledgeable. Will you take me on as your student?'

"Chuang-tzu answered, 'Only if you tell all the people you brought with you to leave.'

"The student turned around to see who had followed him to Chuang-tzu's house but was surprised to see no one else around. At first the student was mystified, but then he understood what Chuang-tzu was telling him. Before he could learn, he had to let go of the outer concerns he carried in his mind to allow his inner nature to be nourished. We all carry with us the conditioning we received from our culture, including our attitudes and beliefs. Many of these also come from our upbringing, schooling, the groups we are in, and the country in which we live. Taoists encourage us to set external concerns aside to open the way for Tao."