Tao is hard to explain – Reasons 4 & 5
“The Tao that can be mentioned is not the eternal Tao,” says Lao Tzu.
There are many reasons for Lao Tzu to say so, and these are reasons 4 and 5 — from my perspective.
They have to do with form.
Reason 4: Tao has no form
Tao is ever present and underlies every existence in the universe.
But what does Tao look like? Unfortunately, you can never say it for sure, as it’s formless. It has no shape, no weight, no size, no smell, no sound.
“Greet it you see no front, follow it you see no tail,” says Lao Tzu.
It’s very hard for anyone to explain something as formless as Tao.
It’s like love. Is there such thing as love? Apparently, there is! But what does love look like? It’s invisible. How do you describe it?
You can’t tell what love is like. But you can feel it. You can feel it when you see a mother cuddles her child, or when your loved-one touches you hand.
Still, it’s hard to describe something as invisible as love. Similarly, it’s hard to describe something as formless as Tao.
That’s the reason why Lao Tzu says, “The Tao that can be mentioned is not the eternal Tao.”
There is another reason why you can’t describe what exactly Tao is like.
Reason No. 5: Tao can be in any form
Although Tao has no form, it can be in any form.
Although Tao has no shape, it can be in any shape.
Tao is like tea. When it’s in the pot, it’s in the shape of the pot. When it’s in the cup, it’s in the shape of the cup.
In every form, there is Tao.
Money is a form. It’s a form built on trust. Trust is Tao, and it needs the form to make it useful. Without the form, exchange of value becomes difficult even when we have the trust.
The house is a form, and the space in it is the Tao. If there is no house, you can’t have the space, and there’s nowhere for you to build the happiness.
Form is useful with Tao, and Tao becomes useful with the form.
Intriguing? “The mystery is the doorway to understanding,” says Lao Tzu.
But it’s hard to describe the form and the formless in words.
This’s the reason why Lao Tzu would say, “The Tao that can be mentioned is not the eternal Tao.”
Watch videos on Reasons 1 to 3.