- Religion and Philosophy
The Journey Of A Thousands Miles Begins With A Single Step
©2014 El Veasey Publishing
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. A ninety story building begins with single brick.” I may be paraphrasing here, but, those statements from the “Dao De Ching” or the “Tao The Ching” speak volumes. The authorship of The “Tao The Ching “pronounced “Dao De Ching” is ascribed to “Lao Tzu” whose name in English means “The Old Philosopher”. Imagine that! A “religion” started by a philosopher!
Whether you take those verses quoted literally or spiritually (symbolically), they’re pointing out something, that’s beneficial for all to understand, that can be applied in a wide variety of circumstances.
These statements are about spirituality and in spiritually, it’s the effort one puts forth to comprehend their meaning and incorporate them into one’s everyday life, that’s of utmost importance.
Many of us always want everything clearly or literally explained to us, so we can “feel or think”, we know, what’s being brought forth to us, without making the effort to understand, what’s being put forth on our own. But spiritually, if one doesn’t make the effort to “wrestle and struggle” to understand something whose meaning is not apparent, or ready at hand. One doesn’t advance, “grow”, or spiritually mature. We become like a “spiritual baby” dependent on the “mother’s” milk to nourish us and keep us spiritually alive.
The Single Step
The Journey Begins
Here are the verses that confront us upon opening the Tao The Ching
“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 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”.
(Source www.Taoism.net and Tao The Ching: Annotated & Explained, published by Skylight Paths in 2006.)
Symbol Of The Tao
So what does all of this seemingly, confusing, abstractness mean?
I’m going to play the part of the “spiritual father/mother” and provide those who are interested in understanding these seemingly abstruse verses with a little “spiritual milk and honey”.
Let’s start with verse one.
1. The Tao that can be spoken is not the eternal Tao”. (That’s because the name is not the thing. The thing can have various names in various languages but they’re not the thing either.)
2. The name that can be named is not the eternal name. (Because the eternal name is not a name, it’s that which creates names.)
3. The nameless is the origin of Heaven and Earth. (Because it creates the intellectual concepts, Heaven and Earth.)
4. The named is the mother of myriad things. (Because a name/concept can lead to or generate endless ancillary concepts.)
5. “Thus, constantly without desire, one observes its essence.” (Because desire can obscure one’s perception of the non-obvious core of a concept, thing, object, experience or reality.)
6. “Constantly with desire, one observes its manifestations.” (Because desire causes us to see the obvious rather than the more subtle aspects of the experience.)
7. These two emerge together but differ in name. (Essence and manifestation are called by different names because people see them as separate but they are the front and back of the same thing, like the ocean and the waves.)
8. The unity is said to be the mystery. (Is said to be a mystery because we don’t understand essence and manifestation are the front and back of the same experience.)
9. “Mystery of mysteries, the door to all wonders”. (Because when you open up to it, the vision of a whole new “world” emerges into your everyday experience.)
The Tao is that spiritual source intelligence-mind that encompasses and is the source of all sensory things. That’s why it’s metaphorically called the “Mother” That gives birth to all things, or the “Cosmic Egg” that all things “hatch” or proceed from.
Even calling it “it” is metaphorical, because compared to what we call things. It’s apparently nothing (no-thing), but, no-thing could exist without it.
So what is it, I think I can hear someone ask?
This is where you have to invest the time, effort and energy, how every long it takes, to contemplate everything that’s been said, and open up to an intuitive insight of what the answer is or may be.
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