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Tao Te Ching, Chapter 1: A Meditation

The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao.
The name that can be named is not the eternal name.
The nameless is the beginning of heaven and Earth.
The named is the mother of the ten thousand things.
Ever desireless, one can see the mystery.
Ever desiring, one sees the manifestations.
These two spring from the same source but differ in name; this appears as darkness.
Darkness within darkness.
The gate to all mystery.

This is my creation story* This is my alternative to the opening verses of the Gospel According to Saint John.
This is the rock that anchors me to reality.
This is where the great and small mystical traditions of humanity come together to speak in a single voice.
This is my truth and my meaning and my comfort..

This cuts to the chase in the fewest possible words.
Reality is incomprehensible, a mystery, forever (so far, anyway) beyond our ability to imagine.
Phenomena are what we say they are and they change whenever we change our minds.

Everything is nothing and nothing is everything.
But my take on it matters: do i crave the ten thousand things
Or do i let go and accept the One: the one that is beyond nothing and everything.

The Taoist says: don't value your prejudices.
She doesn't say i can't have prejudices or opinions or beliefs or even material possessions.
She just says, don't cling to them.  Let them go.

My catechist told me many years ago that i could have anything i want, if i am willing to give up everything else in exchange.
This reminds me of Jesus' parable of the "pearl of great price."
That seems to be what "Lao Tze" is saying here.  The manifestations and the mystery are one in the same.
Yes, they are the same, but i can;t have it both ways at the same time.
I can't have my cake and eat it too..
If i want the mystery i must forego the manifestations.

In The Cloud of Unknowing i am told to place a cloud of forgetting between myself and the world.
Even this will not pierce the  Cloud of Unknowing.
It may, however. allow me to see that the Cloud is forever ready to envelope me in love.

Darkness is the origin of light ; the origin of darkness is unknown.

Whatever is holy is good; whatever is is holy,


Daily Tao


* This reading of the Tao Te Ching was my first encounter with Taoism.  It is the Gia-fu Feng and Jane English translation published by Random House and Vintage Press in 1972.  =More beautiful and (on the other hand) more accurate translations  are available, but this is  my "King James Version."

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
amaebi
Nov. 16th, 2010 12:41 pm (UTC)
I have loved this part of the Tao Te Ching so long as I've known it-- about 27 years.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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