Tao Te Ching

Tao Te Ching Verse 1

The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao

The name that can be named is not the eternal name.

 

The Tao is both named and nameless.

As nameless it is the origin of all things;

As named it is the Mother of 10,000 things.

 

Free from desire, one can see the mystery;

Caught in desire, one sees only the manifestations.

Yet mystery and manifestations arise from the same source

And the mystery itself is the doorway to all understanding.

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“Beyond the world of opposites is an unseen, but experienced, unity and identity in us all.  For we are all, in every particle of our being, precipitations of consciousness.”

—Erwin Schrodinger (Nobel Prize winning physicist), “My View of the World.”

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Neo: This isn’t real?

Morpheus: What is real?  How do you define real?  If you’re talking about your senses, what you feel, taste smell or see, then all you’re talking about are electrical signals interpreted by your brain.”

—The Matrix

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“The life force beyond all things has no form, yet it gives form to all things…

When you understand this, you will see through the illusionary duality of life.”

—Sydney Banks, “The Missing Link.”

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 “If you could get rid of yourself just once, the secret of secrets would open to you.”

—Rumi

I once found myself sitting on a pile of rocks in the middle of nowhere.  Well, Nebraska. Took a brief hike to stretch my legs driving cross-country, and paused on the rocky outcrop alone with my thoughts and the desert lupines.  Plenty of blue sky, scattered Joshua trees, abundant fractured rocks less suitable for sitting, sand, soil and sun. A vast panorama stretching unfettered to the distant horizon. But it was the silence not the scenery that struck me. Absolute silence, not a sound. No wind, not a bird in the vast sky, not so much as a cricket’s chirp interrupted the stillness. It seemed impossible, otherworldly.

 

It was a transcendent experience erasing thoughts of past or future. And then I disappeared. The natural beauty that had focused my attention remained, but I was now seeing “behind” it. I saw the rocks, trees, and myself as primarily space surrounded by form, everything a projection of a common, conscious source. In retrospect, it was like the concluding line of a Li Po poem. “We sit together, the mountain and me, until only the mountain remains.”

As befits a reality that cannot be told, the Tao’s language is silence. Everything else is a poor translation. Calm the mind and you can see the Mystery.  Focus on the forms (everything the mind’s “I” apprehends) and the mystery is veiled.  But if you can get rid of yourself even for a moment, the secret of secrets would open to you, the doorway to all understanding.