Tao is too small to know
Tao is hard to explain – Reason 3
What does tao mean?
“The Tao that can be mentioned is not the eternal Tao,” says Lao Tzu in Tao Te Ching.
There are many reasons for Lao Tzu to say so, and this is reason 3 — from my perspective.
It has to do with size.
We can’t possibly explain what Tao is, because it is too small.
Although Tao is indefinitely big, so big that it is able to manage the entire universe, it’s indefinitely small.
It’s in the bird that flies, in the fish that swims and in the body of yours and mine. It’s in every being, and forms its basic building blocks.
It can be so small.
Smaller than sand and powder. Smaller than the atom. Smaller than the protons, neutrons and electrons. Smaller than the quarks.
So small that Lao Tzu calls it ‘nothingness’.
So small that it echos the findings of the modern quantum physicists: Physical things ultimately don’t have physical structure.
Since there’s no way for us to describe nothingness, it led Lao Tzu to say, “The Tao that can be mentioned is not the eternal Tao.”