The Tao Te Ching is a great tool for enhancing interpersonal relationships and integrating into our daily lives the integrating qualities of leadership. It is a classic which serves to be more centred when dealing with situations, whether at personal and corporate levels, but just reading and applying the principles is useful, however, there is an aspect of this teaching which completes the picture, otherwise it just becomes an academic exercise. The verse below lays the foundation for the beginning of a road to personal power:
The Tao that can be expressed
Is not the Tao of the Absolute.
The name that can be named
Is not the name of the Absolute.
The nameless originated Heaven and Earth.
The named is the Mother of All Things.
Thus, without expectation,
One will always perceive the subtlety;
And, with expectation,
One will always perceive the boundary.
The source of these two is identical,
Yet their names are different.
Together they are called profound,
Profound and mysterious,
The gateway to the Collective Subtlety.
(Ref: “The Tao Of Power”
A New Translation of the Tao Te Ching by
R.L.WING…….p27 verse 1).
In his statements one finds that Lao Tzu is amazingly obscure and mysterious. This is not surprising as there is an underlying mystery behind this Philosophy, the source of course is a spiritual essence, looking at the world by first seeing beyond the mind. The person who meditates on the mystery of life will see through the teachings without any difficulty. The Tao, also spoken of in other traditions by different names, cannot be spoken of as it is transcendental and not the written word, it is the subtle energy which can only be revealed.
The Ultimate Reality, or the Absolute, as Lao Tzu rightly calls it, cannot be expressed because it is inexpressible, complete in itself, hence beyond any description. Because it cannot be expressed, equally, it cannot be named as it is beyond any labels and boundaries. Absolute means it has no beginnings or endings, it is complete, nothing will increase it by adding anything to it, and nothing will decrease it by subtracting from it. In other words, one can neither add to it, or take away from it, because it is already complete, an Absolute state.
The nameless, or the Absolute is the manifestor of all creation, yet, itself remains unmanifest. The named, or the Tao, is what supports the evolution of the universe, it sustains all levels of creation and hence is called the Mother of All Things.
In the third verse I find a great esoteric Truth, “thus without expectation, one will always perceive the subtlety;” when there is an expectation in an inward journey, one does not come or abide in a state of neutrality, hence what is there is never grasped, and looking and moving in the world outside, one comes to hit limits because it is all action is centred from the mind, hence one always comes across boundaries or barriers. The statement clearly calls for letting go of expectations and any preconceived ideas. In this manner of letting go, one sees things as they are and not based on any judgement and hence free from prejudice. To put it more simply, to live in the moment is what is required.
In verse four, greater clarity appears. Although the names are different, but there is only one source. It is the development of the subtlest power, which allows the individual to be more centred and hence the energies are directed in a more positive and conducive way. This can only result from a mind which is uncluttered, free from judgement and preconceived ideas. Such clarity cannot just come from a mental process, one has to go beyond all the chaos and work from an inner stillness.
Working from scripts or scriptures maybe useful but it is not the whole picture. Working with the Tao is to sit in meditation and access that stillness, to be living the spiritual life. The Tao has to be revealed by a competent Enlightened Master, someone who is then able to reveal this state to others who, like the Master, will rejoice in the same state of Absoluteness. Meditation on the Tao or in the tradition of the East, the Light and Sound, clears out all old energies and breaks binding patterns, hence give way to the new energy, which is far more subtle and creative. This cycle of meditation and then be active in the world allows the individual to be more in harmony with others and at peace with himself/herself.
Here, I must emphasise the point that we are living in great fortunate times, where access to such subtle energy, the Tao or the Light and Sound, is available through the grace of an Enlightened Master. This Master is here now, and he too will leave this physical plane at sometime, so, a sense of urgency is called for, what needs to be done now, cannot be put off till tomorrow, since in reality, only NOW exists. It is a message to all to avail themselves of this rare opportunity and live the life which the scriptures only talk about.