Ballast is heavy material that is placed in the hold of a ship to provide stability in the case of rough seas. In a way, the teachings of the old wise ones of the Dao could be compared to ballast. If we follow the teachings of the Dao, the lessons we learn provide us with more stability when we encounter rough seas. It helps us to ride out the raging storms and high waves that we occasionally face. We get hit with the salt water in our face but we keep a steady wheel and a steady course. We don’t want to capsize of beach ourselves on a sand bar. After all, there are a lot better kinds of bars we can find.