I think this attitude might have had a lot to do with why artists were so skillful, smart and multi-talented back then (during the Renaissance), and perhaps shed some light on why the majority of us are NOT these days…
So I told myself I’d do something special when and if I reached 100 followers! It seems like monumental number somehow. My love and gratitude goes out to all of you who have taken an interest in my thought, opinions, and ideas. It is absolutely INCREDIBLE to me that I can communicate and interact with you all on such a meaningful level without even meeting face to face. 🙂
To begin to understand something, ANYTHING, I would suggest first understanding the nature of that thing. By nature I mean the underlying patterns of behavior and purpose of existence.
For instance, take a car. What is it’s nature… hmm… Well, first off it transports people. It does not move by itself, and only functions when someone uses it (a tool). It is also relatively sturdy and reliable. So it’s nature is as a reliable tool of transportation. It it is used as such, it will live a long and fruitful life. But if any of the aspects of its nature are violated, it will suffer. If it is not relied upon (and so not maintained) it will rust and slowly deteriorate. If it is not used as a tool, and left to drive itself, it will crash. If it is not used for transportation (maybe you decide to camp out in it) the battery will drain. It was built with a purpose and functions best within the perimeters of that purpose.
Now consider… what’s your nature? What do you do for a living? For fun? What are some recurring themes in your life?What you LIKE can be a consideration, but what is REALITY will give you a better idea of your current nature. Maybe you wont like it, but don’t worry, humans are capable of change!
Taking myself as an example… I work as a webmaster at a small company. I like all sorts of hobbies and learning things. My life goes through cycles of laziness/depression and productivity/excitement. So the webmaster and hobbies suggests that my nature is to think and learn. My cycles suggest to me that I am cyclical in nature. So my nature would be something like… one who thinks and learns steadily intellectually, but goes through cycles emotionally. That seems vague but accurate.
Now I can decide, do I like my nature? Well, the emotional cycles are not my favorites, but I do see them as natural and fostering of spiritual growth… so yea, I guess I do!
Doing this exercise, if you find out that your nature fosters poor relationships or is heavily influenced by something you deem negative, have heart! Identifying the problem is half the battle.
“A way that can be walked is not the Way
A name that can be named is not the Name
Tao is both Named and Nameless
As Nameless, it is the origin of all things
As Named, it is the mother of all things”
To understand the Tao Te Ching, it is important to first understand the title. Ching basically means “book.” So it is the Book of Tao and Te.
Now, Tao and Te are a bit more difficult to describe, as the very nature of “Tao” is to be beyond description or mental understanding. Tao is often translated as “the way” as it is here in this verse. The first line actually reads “The Tao that is the Tao is not the Eternal/True Tao” (Tao ku Tao fei chang Tao in Chinese). That is to say the Tao that you are thinking of, is not what Tao is really like. That is because the real existing Tao, is something far beyond our mortal brain’s comprehension or imagination. I will talk about “Te” and how they relate to God and the Holy Spirit at the end.
The next line goes on the say that when you name something, it does not sum up what the thing is in actually (represented by the capital “N” in the last Name). So the first words of the Tao Te Ching serve to tell us that THE CONCEPTION YOU HAVE IN YOUR MIND do not represent TRUE reality.
Tao is BEYOND DUALITY, as it can be both named and nameless.
“Nameless“, is nothingness, from which we understand that reality sprung (from the singularity – basically nothing – before the big bang). It is the “origin of all things.” … True enough.
As “Named“, once it has existence, it is the “mother” of all things. A similar role (in that they are both CREATING) but the word “mother’ implies a more physical and less spiritual origin. I think this is to say that Tao is the creator of both the spiritual and physical realms.
Now, if Tao sounds a lot like God to you, well… me too. In the Quran (the holy book of Islam) it says that God sent a messenger to every peoples. It is likely that Lao Tzu, the author of the Tao Te Ching, might have been one of those messengers, in my mind.
Now to talk about “Te” which is the EXPRESSION of Tao. Tao cannot be conceptualized or divided. A PART of Tao is not the TRUE Tao. So, when Tao interacts with things, this expression is called Te. I think what Lao Tzu was talking about, in Biblical/Quranic terms is the Holy Spirit. Is not the Holy Spirit the expression of God’s will on Earth?
So the “Tao Te Ching” translates (one way) to “The Book of Tao and its Expression,” or “The Book of God and the Holy Spirit” if you prefer 🙂 (Which I do!)
We’ll find that the Tao Te Ching does not always express Tao in ways that correlate directly with the Biblical conception of God. But I think it’s important to remember that God (the TRUE God in reality, not our ideas and conceptions about Him) is far beyond our mortal mind’s ability to conceive of. And, as God cannot be divided, if you don’t understand God in His ENTIRETY, then you don’t really understand God at all.
Frustrating isn’t it! Ah, but it makes things interesting and reminds us to stay humble.
May the Force (God?!) be with you. Hmmm?
Today I’d simply just like to point out the INCREDIBLE POWER OF SUBTLETY.
All the most powerful people/entities use subtlety. The MEDIA/ADVERTISEMENTS use subtle messages to influence your decision making. The POLITICIANS do this too, and often they’ll create an obvious distraction on one issue while they attend subtly to another. The DEVIL does this by whispering subtle lies and distortions of the truth, but never so blatant that you realize how he’s changing your thought patterns. And of course GOD is the must subtle of all things, and yet He is the most powerful.
Why is there such great power in subtly?
Because you can’t oppose what you can’t identify.