4 Ways to Understand What Tao is
Tao as a way of life
Lao Tzu begins the book Tao Te Ching by saying,
The Tao that can be described
is not the eternal Tao.
The name that can be spoken
is not the eternal Name.
Although Tao cannot be described, a definition however vague is going to be helpful if you want to engage Tao as a way of life.
Here I am putting together a framework as a point of reference. Although it would never be able to answer the ultimate question of what Tao is, hopefully it can serve some practical purposes.
- First, Tao is the primordial essence of the universe from which every existence is created, be it the galaxy or a human being.
- Second, it is the principle that underlies every existence. We are in association with it since we were born and are going to be associated with it after our death, even when we are unaware of it. So is everything else around us. As a universal principle, it is impartial and consistent.
- Third, recognizing the working of Tao enables us to appreciate the laws that govern the universe. Abiding by these laws allows us to work in unison with Tao, so that we can leverage on the almighty force to get things done effortlessly while feeling more fulfilled.
- Forth, the understanding helps us to return to our true self and natural quality that is integrated with the cosmos. This enables us to live in sensitive response to Tao and stay closer to the truth.
I do hope that these 4 aspects of Tao – putting together – may work as a framework of reference for you to get started in your journey to make Tao a way of life.