Even the finest name is insufficient to define it.
Without words, the Tao can be experienced,
and without a name, it can be known.
To conduct one's life according to the Tao,
is to conduct one's life without regrets;
to realize that potential within oneself
which is of benefit to all.
Though words or names are not required
to live one's life this way,
to describe it, words and names are used,
that we might better clarify
the way of which we speak,
without confusing it with other ways
in which an individual might choose to live.
Through knowledge, intellectual thought and words,
the manifestations of the Tao are known,
but without such intellectual intent
we might experience the Tao itself.
Both knowledge and experience are real,
but reality has many forms,
which seem to cause complexity.
By using the means appropriate,
we extend ourselves beyond
the barriers of such complexity,
and so experience the Tao.
Tao Te Chig, English by Stan Rosenthal, Terebess Asia Online (TAO)
After spending a month with Abraham and his spiritual descendents it is comforting to see the words of the Tao Te Ching. The God that can be spoken of is not God; yet we can experience God, and, having experienced God, we know what to do, if we didn't know already.
The simple profundity of Taoist philosophy seems to be the core of whatever religion i have or may acquire. I say "philosophy" because i know there is a Taoist religion and that religion seems in no way preferrable to other religions. Religion implies organization and the preservation of itself becomes the predominant goal of every organization, even if the teaching or faith or belief that justifies the organization is sacrificed. Persons who treasure both the stimulus that brought the organization into being and the organization itself are left with an unbearable dilemma.
Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all saw themselves as "peoples" which, in that illusion we call the real world. gets translated as "organizations." In the process of defending their organizations they acquired strategies, weapons and other accoutrements of violence. Because of the ethnocentrism that always accompanies organizations, they went from defense to offense and became part of the evil they were trying to alleviate. At a given moment in time. one may appear worse than the others. But unless the nature of organizations fundamentally changes, each will take its turn as oppressor and aggressor.
Because livelihood often depends on organizational affiliation, i found myself part of a university system for 34 years, though i always tried to stay as independent of it as i was able. I have rarely joined other organizations as an adult, and those i did, i quickly left. This has had its drawbacks: my good efforts have not been multiplied by the support of others.
"By using means appropriate
we extend ourselves beyond
the barriers of (reality),
and experience the Tao.
Trying to treasure modesty, and moderation, and mercy, i await the experience.
When it comes, it will not tell me who to fight, who to hate, or who to ignore.
It will light a path i already know but am often unable to follow.
and i will follow it.