In this third volume in a trilogy, The Couple's Tao Te Ching and The Parent's Tao Te Ching, William Martin reinterprets this classic for those in the last stage of life. Unlike most Western cultures which idolize youth, the Chinese venerate the sage. The author explains in his introduction:

"It is assumed that a person does not have the capacity for true wisdom until the years have bestowed the benefits arising from the experience of such seeming polarities as success and failure, gain and loss, love and fear, sickness and health, and life and death."

Martin thinks we need a new model for aging. It is a time for harvesting one's experience, sharing wisdom and stories. and opening one's heart in love and compassion. It is a time to do inner work and to attend to the needs of the next generation.

In Lao Tzu's 81 short poetic chapters of advice, the author finds plenty of material on freedom, compassion, service, finding new questions, death as a companion, traveling light, embracing life, open to all, and allowing peace at last.

Here is one example of what you will find in this exquisite paperback:

Older Or Wiser?

"Growing older either reveals or hides
the mystery of existence.

If you are becoming a sage
you will grow in trust and contentment.
You will discover the light
of life's deepest truths.
If you are merely growing older,
you will become trapped by fears and frustrations.
You will see only the darkness
of infirmity and death.

The great task of the sage
is learning to see in the darkness
and not be afraid.

There is one primary choice
facing every aging person:
Will we become sages,
harvesting the spiritual essence of our lives
and blessing all future generations?
Or will we just grow older,
circling the wagons,
and waiting for the end?"