Tao Te – Overview

I am in the process of publishing a book by Thomas D’Alessio that readers here may appreciate. I will send a note when it is available. Below is one of his definitions that may be helpful in your further reflection on the Tao Te verses.

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the great central generating force of Life, the Universe and Everything. The Kosmos, the Cosmos, and the Mikrokosmos. Plus everything in your big backyard, inter-galactically speaking.

Here is Tao One:

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 ten thousand things.
Ever desireless, one can see the mystery.
Ever desiring, one can see 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.
(translated by Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English)

Some definitions:

Tao means Way. Not the way, or a way, just way.

 Tao named is what we know. All of it, every last bit of it. It is the way of knowing, the kataphatic way, the source of ten-thousand things (which is to say, what Douglas Adams called Life, the Universe, and Everything).

Tao nameless, that is, Tao undefined, is what precedes all-that-is, gives rise to all-that-is, sometimes called emptiness or pure empty awareness. Words can only back you up so far and then you just have to let go and rest in it, and then there is no it, no rest, no I.

Ever desireless means always rid yourself of desires (everything clung to must be let go) in order to observe its secrets.

Ever desiring means always allow yourself to have desires (connection is good) in order to observe its manifestations.

Darkness within darkness means we don’t know what we don’t know and there is more in that ocean deep and wide than there is in the teaspoon of what we know, but knowing that we don’t know is a gateway.

If Tao sounds a lot like “you are evolution of carbon to consciousness, of stone into Spirit; you are involution of Spirit into stone, a manifestation of Spirit in time and space, as time and space” that’s because it is. The named and the nameless, all there in you.

If Tao sounds a lot like Spirit or Quality or even Elohim, it’s because it is. All those notions are sincere attempts to describe something that cannot be described. All those terms, and others like them, are a gate, a portal, a doorway, one that we must walk through if we are to avoid becoming error, ignorance, and discard along the Way.

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