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Tao For Today; Verse 1

Updated on August 5, 2016
Deborah Demander profile image

Deborah is a writer, healer, and teacher. Her goal is to help people live their best lives everyday by sharing her joy and love of life.

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Understanding the Tao Te ching

The Tao Te Ching is a philosophical text written by Lao-tzu, a philosopher and historian, during the time of Confucius. This text, written in two parts, with eighty-one short sections, serves as a philosophical guidepost.

The term "Tao" means way or path. In many philosophical works, this term refers to a calling. In the Tao Te Ching, the term Tao refers to a much larger metaphysical principal, a Universal oneness, from which all things come, and to which all things return. While "Tao", is a path, and a way, the meaning is much broader, encompassing and mysterious.

The term "Te" refers to the moral power and virtue associated with one who follows a correct path. In the Tao Te Ching, Te refers more to the virtue one gains by following Tao, the way.

The perennial wisdom presented within the Tao Te Ching seems mysterious and complex with first reading. Upon further inspection, meaning recedes further, until the text seems convoluted and impossible to understand. Such is the mystery of Tao. Rather than wrestle with meaning, absorb the words and let the Tao speak to you.


Tao Te Ching Chapter One

Translated by Derek Lin

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 free of desire
One observes its wonders
Constantly filled with desire
One observes its manifestations

These two emerge together but differ in name
The unity is said to be the mystery
Mystery of mysteries, the door to all wonders

Tao Te Ching Chapter One

Tao called Tao is not Tao.

Names can name no lasting name.

Nameless: the origin of heaven and earth.

Naming: the mother of ten thousand things.

Empty of desire, perceive mystery.

Filled with desire, perceive manifestations.

These have the same source, but different names.

Call them both deep-

Deep and again deep:

The gateway to all mystery.

Trying to name the Tao is not Tao. Allow the mystery to unfold. The names we give are not eternal, nor do they define our world. Nameless is the energy behind heaven and earth, the divine flow of Tao. Named represents the created- the things we have here, the result of the Tao, and the physical manifestation of Tao.

Empty yourself of desire, longing, and needing, to perceive the mystery of Tao in everything. Fill yourself with desire to allow Tao to manifest in every facet of your life. Shift your perception away from wanting and toward allowing. Shift from trying to doing. Just allow your mind to be.

Deep cries out to deep- creation and the creator communicate, exchange energy, and thrive. Walking through the gateway to all mystery, experience Tao without trying to label or change it. 

Today, experience the mystery. Let go of how you think the world should by, and experience what is. Don't label or judge. Observe the mystery and let Tao unfold in your life.

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    • Deborah Demander profile imageAUTHOR

      Deborah Demander 

      7 years ago from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD

      Cheeky Girl, thanks for stopping by.

      Ashmi, I appreciate your insight.

      Jean, I can relate. I too have a pile of books, awaiting my attention.

      Namaste friends.

    • Jean Bakula profile image

      Jean Bakula 

      7 years ago from New Jersey

      Wonderful hub, Deborah. I really want to learn more about the Tao. I have so many stacks of books on my coffee table and "book basket" waiting for me! And I read quite fast too! Take care!

    • Ashmi profile image

      Ashmi 

      8 years ago from Somewhere out there

      Hi D.......good hub!

      To do nothing is the hardest work one can do. To be nothing, to know nothing, to have nothing. What luxury!!

    • Cheeky Girl profile image

      Cassandra Mantis 

      8 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

      Thanks Deborah for a nice hub about Tao. My friend Cathy is part-asian and explained some of this to me. But this is so well explained here. Great read! Cheers!

    • Deborah Demander profile imageAUTHOR

      Deborah Demander 

      8 years ago from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Tony, I will get the Tao of Leadership. Sounds interesting. Thanks for the reference.

      Namaste.

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 

      8 years ago from South Africa

      I really like this Hub which gives me some more information on the Tao, which I appreciate. My introduction to the Tao was via John Heider's book "The Tao of Leadership" which is a wonderful resource.

      Thanks for sharing.

      Love and peace

      Tony

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 

      8 years ago from TEXAS

      I love this. Thank you.

    • thevoice profile image

      thevoice 

      8 years ago from carthage ill

      beautiful terrific write god speed thanks

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 

      8 years ago

      Fascinating hub. I want to go over it a few more times to absorb everything you are saying.

    • sinela profile image

      sinela 

      8 years ago from Romania

      Very interesting, thank you for sharing.

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