The Way of Tao

Yin and yang blue

Image via Wikipedia

“The tao that can be told
is not the eternal Tao
The name that can be named
is not the eternal Name.”


To reflect on Taoism, I thought it would be fitting to return to the beginning. In the beginning, we learn that Tao called Tao, is not Tao. It seems this is the case because the Tao is everything, so any one thing that is called Tao could only be a part of Tao. This makes sense because Tao isn’t a point or destination, but the way.

Moving further along the way, we learn that names can name no lasting name. I like this because it hints at the potential for continued growth. A baby is born, becomes a child, then an adolescent, an adult, and finally an elder. Context changes the name.

Nameless: The origin of Heaven and Earth. This context reveals what I believe to be the original yin yang. It existed before naming. Through naming: the mother of ten thousand things, we distance ourselves from Heaven and Earth, becoming ten thousand splinters of Heaven and earth—still part of the same whole, just with spaces between.

When we empty ourselves of desire, we perceive mystery because we have no desire to know. When we never know what to expect of these mysteries, we are kept in a state of ziran. When we are filled with desire, we perceive manifestations. Dynamic desires produce mysterious manifestations, also keeping us in a state of ziran. Perhaps this is why they are deep and again deep—our desires, or lack thereof, are the gateway to mystery. We always perceive, it is just a question of what we will perceive.

That we will never know.

By being in tune with nature, we all walk our own way. Each way is important because it returns ten thousand splinters to the wholeness of Heaven and Earth.

We are Tao.