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The Tao Beyond Words

"The tao that can be told

is not the eternal Tao."

Tao Te Ching

Since the beginning of time, people have been trying (in vain) to find words that capture the Essence that is behind this Universal play of Life. Some ended up calling it God, while others referred to it as Tao; some found comfort in more personal terms like Father or Mother, while others called it Love or Truth. If you're a Buddhist, you might refer to this vast Intelligence as Emptiness, or the Void (admittedly, not very romantic terms for the Creator of the Universe!). With the attempt to pin a name on the Divine Source, there arose differences of opinion among religions as to who's name was actually right. Countries have even gone to war over their differing names for the ONE Intelligence that is behind, and in, everything.

For thousands of years human beings have sought a way of categorizing the Divine so that the mind can hold and talk about it, and along the way we have forgotten that these words are not the Tao (or whatever you wish to call it). They are simply fingers pointing at the moon. Unfortunately, we have become much more interested in the pointing finger (the descriptions), than actually experiencing the moon (God). As the Buddha once said:

"As the foolish see the finger pointing at the moon,

and contemplate the finger instead of contemplating the moon,

so those attached to names and words

do not see the Truth."

We have forgotten that, since the Tao is beyond all of our attempts to name It with words, It has nothing to do with the concepts or words we use to describe it. Lets use the example of a piece of chocolate cake; you can describe it to another person - let them smell it, even let them feel it - but the truth is, if you really wish for them to know how delicious chocolate cake really is, all you have to do is let them taste it. Once they take a bite - ahhh - they will never again confuse the words 'chocolate cake' for the actual experience of tasting it directly.

Another way of saying this is that, most people would rather eat the cook book than use the recipes to make, and eat, a tasty meal. And so it is with Tao; once we let go of our words and concepts about it, we find ourselves actually falling into the experience of It, here and now. Beyond the words that point to the tree, we actually find the fruit of what we long for, and in the finding, we taste what can never be described by all of our concepts. Likewise, when we give up trying to describe the Tao, we suddenly realize that It is unfolding right NOW, and that we have never been apart from It for even a single second. 'Tasting' the Tao, and living in It's perfect Flow becomes our constant experience, and way more enjoyable that trying to describe it with empty words and concepts.

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