Don’t follow, stand with.

Walk, don’t lead.

Listen, then speak.


Remember, then forget.



Receive the gift.

Give more back.

Learn the lesson,

Show the way.


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.

Yet again, humbled by nature.

“And this, our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything.”

William Shakespeare

Rain was the curtain, lifted to reveal nature’s awe-inspiring stage–an act that eclipsed performers and audience alike.

The setting of the performance was Conley Bottom, one of the many marinas at Lake Cumberland. Golden rays of the sweet summer sun warmed waves of water that would be blown by blissful breezes into the enchanted, earth-lined shores. The lake would impart on me these characteristics, warming my heart and granting it the freedom needed to be carried to an enchanted shore.

Nature inspires me. It has a way of paradoxically blending simplicities and complexities with ease. A complicated design with a seemingly simple program:

Operating harmoniously on every scale.

Haha, funny how when I put it like that, it doesn’t sound simple at all. Even when I get close, discord eventually pushes me away. Perhaps we need to take a lesson from nature and abolish the sentiment of man standing apart from nature. Even the rock that breaks away from the mountainside is still a part of the mountain. The only difference is that it has been gifted with its own form, and a new perspective.

Man stands as a part of, not apart from, nature.

And I’m small. I am a little pea.