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The Tao Te Ching. Lao Tzu.
The essence of the Tao cannot be spoken. Words and speech can only take us to a certain point. In order to step through the doorway into the secret mysteries of the Universe, we need to go beyond our thinking mind into the essence or
absolute state of being.
The Tao that can be spoken is not the eternal Tao
The name that can be named is not the eternal name
The nameless is the origin of Heaven and Earth
The named is the mother of myriad things
Thus, constantly without desire, one observes its essence
Constantly with desire, one observes its manifestions
These two emerge together but differ in name
The unity is said to be the mystery
Mystery of mysteries, the door to all wonders
Lao Tzu was an ancient Chinese philosopher and poet who lived in the 6th century. His name means ‘Old or Venerable Master.’ There is some debate whether he actually wrote the Tao Te Ching or if it was written as a compilation by many others. There are also many myths about him, including that he lived for 600 years and that he actually didn’t exist at all! However he is regarded as the traditional founder of Taoism.
There are hundreds of commentaries and books on the Tao Te Ching. However, I am very interested in writing and inviting others to write from a more everyday perspective on what each chapter means to you. I am inviting readers to write your own commentry and email it to me at email@example.com
I will then post your commentary on this website, with a link back to your website or contact details if requested. I will post a chapter at least once a month. I am particularly interested in approaches to the Tao Te Ching that include, of course Taoism but also Process Oriented Psychology and Buddhism as well as you writing about your everyday life. If you are interested in Lao Tzu and the Tao Te Ching, this is a wonderful way to share thoughts, read different views and join in a community of learners.
The essence of the Tao cannot be spoken. The Tao is on the Absolute level and manifests in form on the Relative level. In Buddhism, the absolute Tao is expressed as Emptiness which cannot be voiced in words. Everything arises from Emptiness.
Dr Arny Mindell, founder of Process Oriented Psychology takes the concept of the inexpressible Tao one step further and speaks it within modern day psychology. He says that everything arises from the essence, the unknowable.
Buddha said, “We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world.” So if we change our mind we change the world.
One way to change is to get out of our own way which means going with the flow. The river doesn’t think, ‘I want or I don’t want to flow to the sea.’ It just flows. As human beings, we think and worry so much. We have forgotten how to deeply trust ourselves. Spontaneity is lost. We don’t remember how to simply ‘experience directly.’
If we have attachment to anything, for example if we desire or chase after happiness, we have lost it even before we start. In fact we have lost the flow of the Tao. We have names for everything because names describe the function of things so on the relative level, naming is useful. However, when we look at a beautiful flower and name it, we categorize and diminish immediately the direct experience of ‘flowerness.’ So naming doesn’t bring us closer to essence.
When we let go, we miraculously discover we are simply there and become the flower. We become one with everything.
‘When I let go of who I am, I become who I might be.’ Lao Tzu
To be able to access the deep stillness inside of us through techniques such as meditation or simply quietly sitting is the secret to calming and quietening the mind. We are all so busy these days and many of us suffer from stress and anxiety. Having enough time, feeling relaxed and happy has become like trying to catch a rainbow. The more we try, the less it happens.
‘Nothing is better than being busy doing nothing.’ Lao Tzu
The mystery of the unknown which becomes known is a continuous process of Waking Up in our life. The relative and absolute levels are unified and inseparable. They are the Ying and the Yang.
Stepping through the dream door, we realise that this life is in fact just a dream, a mirage. Only then can we awaken to the oneness of the Universe.
I have been inspired to start this blog by Amy Putkonen of http://taotechingdaily.com.