Verse 21

The greatest virtue is to follow the Tao and the Tao alone.

The Tao is elusive and intangible.

Although formless and intangible,

it gives rise to form.

Although vague and elusive,

it gives rise to shapes.

Although dark and obscure,

it is the spirit, the essence,

the life breath of all things.

Throughout the ages, its name has been preserved

in order to recall the beginning of all things.

How do I know the ways of all things at the beginning?

I look inside myself and see what is within me.

Lao-tzu

Here is where I get lost and almost turned off by the Tao Te Ching. I am not going to try and guess what Lao-tzu may or may not be saying in this verse; instead I am going to give my theory on what the Tao is. I do not like the first line where it says to “follow the Tao and the Tao alone.” I think this is greatly out of place for any conceptions of what the Tao is supposed to stand for. The Tao does not pass judgments based on whether we believe or not. The Tao will always provide for us whenever or whatever we need. I suppose I was hoping the Tao Te Ching would not take me down the path of an “exclusive” faith. With that being said I am still in the infancy stages of learning about the great Tao, just like the Bible I cannot expect to fully understand by just reading and meditating on the first twenty-one verses. I hope by the time I reach the 81st verse I will have a great understanding of the Tao’s teachings, and with guidance from such readers as “The Rambling Taoist” I may obtain better understanding. I am sure this will be a long process there are times I still find myself going back to the first verse.

I believe the Tao is the beginning of life itself. I think the big bang was the Tao giving birth to everything in the universe. The Tao continue to create and take away life. It is never-ending. In some verses of the Tao Te Ching the Tao is referred to as the “Mother of 10,000 things.” In my translation I have changed this to the Mother of the universe.” I think this fits better. In the fourth verse of the Tao Te Ching it states that the Tao is the father of God Himself. I believe this is the very God of the Bible, Quran, Torah, and insert any religious belief here_______. I find it interesting that the Tao says “Father.” This insinuates to me that God’s are created by the masculine which is destructive compared to the life giving essence of the feminine.

I was having a conversation with an old friend months ago, and he was telling me about his religious beliefs. I was amazed by his insight, and while I was listening to him a light bulb went off inside of me and it made so much of the Tao’s origin made sense to me. I am not going to get into great detail on his beliefs, but he describes the center of the universe is where all life goes and returns to. It sounded like this giant sphere of light and energy. He said this is heaven, the place where all life comes and returns to. I believe this to be the center of the Tao; the center of all creation. I believe Nebulas are the Tao’s womb, the birthplace of stars, and with stars comes solar systems, within solar systems are planets, and within planets are life or death. We as humans would not have evolved if things were just slightly different. We may have ended up like Venus or Mars, but we didn’t and through billions of years we are what we have become. A blessing mixed with happenstance.

I believe when you die your shen returns to the center only to return to another place when it is ready. I believe in reincarnation, but not in the sense the Buddhist believe. I do not think you need to reincarnate in stages until you reach Nirvana, I believe Nirvana is the center and you travel to it every time you pass. This is the place where everything becomes one. I believe your shen is aware and possess conscience. This is where you reunite with loved ones.

In the end I have no idea if this is true. I want so badly to believe this to curb my sense of fear over death. I want to know my loved ones are in a better place. When I first started re-reading the Tao Te Ching I tried to look at Taoism as a philosophical guiding stick on the proper way to live. It was a year ago I really tried to understand Taoism on a spiritual level, since then it has had a bigger impact on my development as a person. This desire to believe and have faith in the Tao on a spiritual level only came after my best friend passed and I was once again confronted with my own mortality. Like the first verse says no one can describe or define the Tao, when we try it is not the eternal name. I think this is something we all must try to describe to further us down our spiritual path.

Advertisements
Comments
  1. Chris Welber says:

    I found the Tao somewhat puzzling before I started my journey about a decade ago with the Tao in Ernest, this book:
    http://omguru.com/omgurucom-health/2010/5/21/the-tao-of-health-sex-and-longevity-a-modern-practical-guide.html

    helped me understand it a lot and highly recommend it.

    My dad was a taoist and I love the idea of living in balance and harmony with the universe.

  2. FungWake says:

    I recommend reading Change Your Thoughts – Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao by Wayne W. Dyer. He analyzes the Tao Te Ching verse by verse. I haven’t read up to verse 21 yet but so far it has been really insightful.

    My suggestion is that don’t focus on Tao by its name. I think the line “follow the Tao and the Tao alone” means to focus on our unmanifest self or desireless.

    Thanks for the book recommendation up there, will be getting that book soon.

    • Tim Lundmark says:

      Fung,
      The Rambling Taoist is a blogger who is a regular reader. He is a blogspot blogger and his web address is http://ramblingtaoist.blogspot.com/ He has been a great help and inspiration in my journey through the Tao. I am also reading the book by Dr. Dyer. This book is by far my favorite which I have read, much of my posts are inspired by his writing. I want to welcome you to the community and hope you come back for some more

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s