Tao (The Way) that can be spoken of is not the Constant Tao’
The name that can be named is not a Constant Name.
Nameless, is the origin of Heaven and Earth;
The named is the Mother of all things.
Thus, the constant void enables one to observe the true essence.
The constant being enables one to see the outward manifestations.
These two come paired from the same origin.
But when the essence is manifested, It has a different name.
This same origin is called ”The Profound Mystery.”
As profound the mystery as it can be,
It is the Gate to the essence of all life.
Gems from verse One
The first two sentences in verse one stopped my Westernized logical mind right in its tracks. What do you mean the Tao that can be spoken of is not the Constant Tao? You just “spoke” it. Does that mean that what you spoke about is not the Tao that we talking about?
You see we have been conditioned to think logically. We think that if we are logical in our analysis, we are intellectually superior. Something that we need to learn, and get used to, is that a lot of the wisdom from the Tao will sound paradoxical. We learn later in Verse Two that we should be able to live and even find peace and wisdom in seemingly contradictory sayings.
So what does it mean that the Tao that can be spoken of is not the Constant Tao?
Btw…I hope that you know that I am no scholar on ancient Asian texts. So I am not going to go into the inconsistencies with different translations and how much of the Chinese characters cannot be fully translated to English. I am but a humble student, having the Tao as the master. I also do a lot of my own research and reading as well as checking my understanding with Taoist Masters, living and dead. This is my interpretation, as a free spirited mind. And nothing else.
Anyways, so what does the first part of this verse try and tell us?
Tao can be translated to mean “The Way”. To try and mention or speak about “The Way” is to lose our grip in an instance. I am going to attempt to articulate my understanding of the Tao or The Way. Since the Tao can be said to be the natural energy that flows through everything in nature, which means it flows through us as well, I can say that the Tao is the essence that gives life to everything in this material manifestation. Now, I am not about to go all religious on you. Trust me, religion doesn’t come close to even explain or manifest what the Tao could ever mean. The Tao, to me, is the natural way of life. It gives life in a non-forceful way in the same way that water flows freely. In Verse 14 it says that the Oneness, which is The Tao, is invisible and formless. The Tao is ever present as it “nurtures all beings with no intention to hold on to the merit”. Quite different from the Western idea of a God.
See The Tao, don’t want or need anyone to worship it. No one to confess to it. No one to get salvation through it. And in this act of selflessness it is still called the “Mother of all things.” It is the mother of all things because it is the “origin of Heaven and Earth;”.
“The constant being enables one to see the outward manifestation”
The constant being that is being talked about here is YOU! Not the “you” that stands in front of the mirror every morning, to check whether you look good for work. This constant being is the same “you” when you were 1 year old or when you will be 80 years old. It is the never changing, ever present essence.
Some might call it a soul or the “I am”. Have you ever tried looking into the mirror into your own eyes? Or stared into the eyes of someone else? After a minute or two you will feel the presence of the observer. Too weird for you? Okay, well, that is the quickest way that you can feel the “I Am” that is the observer. This is your higher self. The self that has the power to use thought, emotion and words to speak into your life and attract what you really want.
This constant being, or you as the higher self, will enable you to see the outward manifestation of the Tao. When you open your eyes, or eye, you will see the manifestation of the Tao in all beings.
This is the “Gate to the essence of all Life”. You are the gate to the essence of all life. To go through this gate is to explore the wisdom and the Tao through the miracle called YOU.
Verse One – things to consider to start doing the Tao
- In the next couple of days be curious about your own essence. Become aware of your emotions, good or bad, and the habit of blaming or naming things/situations. Go within and see if you can observe where these feelings are coming from. Rather than jumping to conclusions and acting on it, write down where you think it is coming from. See if you can observe where you are feeling these emotions. Is it in the chest, heart or stomach area? Or more in the head area? Start keeping a little journal. After a while you will start seeing themes coming through. Just observe, but don’t judge it.
- Become more observant of nature. Look at how the wind is blowing through trees. See how rain falls and how water flows. Observe the Tao in action.
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