Left and Right

"Look at your hands. Western culture tends to favor the right over the left. The very word 'right' is associated with correctness and goodness. A morally upright person is said to be 'righteous'; a capable assistant is your 'right hand.' The word for being right-handed is 'dexterous,' which also means skillful.

"Ancient Chinese culture was quite different in this regard. The sages noted that most people were right-handed, so they usually used the right hand to hurt or harm others. Thus, the right hand was most often associated with violence. This meant it was far from being correct, good or righteous.

"The left hand was the complementary opposite of the right hand, so if the right was associated with violence, then the left must be associated with peace. The right hand wielded the sword, to attack; the left hand held the shield, to protect. This meant neither hand was more important than the other. Both hands must work together in order to achieve the best result.

The Tao Today

"Look at your hands again. Let your right hand symbolize your drive and your willingness to fight for what you deserve. Let your left hand symbolize your kindness, your compassion and your ability to give to people in need. In this view, there is no superior or inferior hand. Both hands contribute to your life in meaningful and significant ways. Find the best balance between the two."