“The Tao gives rise to all forms, yet it has no form of its own.
If you attempt to fix a picture of it in your mind, you will lose it.
This is like pinning a butterfly: the husk is captured, but the flying is lost.
Why not be content with simply experiencing it?”
If you read religious literature that seeks to convey deep, profound, spiritual truth, you will sometimes notice ambiguities, complexities and paradoxes that elude easy understanding. There are some truths that are so deep and transcendent that we have no words for them.
Lao Tzu once said:
“Words can never convey the beauty of a tree; to understand it, you must see it with your own eyes.
Language cannot capture the melody of a song; to understand it, you must hear it with your own ears.
So it is with the Tao: the only way to understand it is to directly experience it.
The subtle truth of the universe is unsayable and unthinkable.
Therefore the highest teachings are wordless.
My own words are not the medicine, but a prescription; not the destination, but a map to help you reach it.
When you get there, quiet your mind and close your mouth.
Don’t analyze the Tao.
Strive instead to live it: silently, undividedly, with your whole harmonious being.”
The knowledge and wisdom each of us carries can barely be described. Our mind is like a small, transistor radio that can only broadcast one song, thought or word at a time. When we get caught up in our own thought-jungle, the words often end up obscuring, not clarifying what is true and real.
Look at a wheel on a car as it rolls. It spins so fast the individual details disappear. If you were an insect on the side of that wheel, you would feel like you were on a high-speed carousal, spinning madly out of control. The further from the center, the faster you would spin. The closer to the center you travel, however, the more serene you become. At the center of the center of that spinning wheel is the still point that does not move.
From that motionless center you can clearly see the chaos of the world, the agitation and frenzy, the frenetic storm and struggle that too often is your own mind and life.
Most of us live in our minds and confuse our thoughts with reality. We name objects and then confuse the name with the thing it describes. Alan Watts once wrote that you could not explain the taste of sugar to a person who had never tasted it. If you had never tasted “sweetness,” what would that word mean? If you had never seen the color blue, what would you see in your mind when someone used that word?
The mind and ego are like panes of a window through which our true self connects with the physical world. But even though light can stream through the glass in either direction, the window is not the light. There is a source for the light, of course. There is a source for this sacred truth. It is beyond us or at least beyond the collection of thoughts, feelings, urges, qualities and characteristics that we use to clothe the skeleton of our small self that we falsely “think” or mistake for our true being.
It is useful to awaken from our dream of separation and remember who we really are. That is happening now. All over the planet people are waking up to their true purpose. They are understanding that deep within them is something subtle and precious, something so valuable, nothing in this world compares with it.
You are that precious thing. You are that holy light. You are that indescribable beauty. You are that which you seek. You are at the center of the wheel. Your mind may not tell you that because your radio is not tuned to this deep frequency. The Sun is always shining, regardless of the clouds we place in our own way.
When we stop feeding our ego and mind with greed, fear and hatred, we create a little space for higher forms of energy to flood in. When we are willing to be well, wellness can be present. We can heal or be healed when we connect with love, compassion, forgiveness, truth and peace. Like snowflakes melting as they land on the warm street, your negative thoughts, feelings and urges can dissolve into your endless ocean-self. Those thoughts are not you. They are just your false self pretending to be real and fooling you for a short while.
There is good news here for anyone who wants it. Let your mind chatter on as you step away from the noise and hear your own special song. It will never fail.
Doug Craig graduated from college in Ohio with a journalism degree and got married during the Carter administration. He graduated from graduate school with a doctorate in Psychology, got divorced, moved to Redding, re-married and started his private practice during the Reagan administration. He had his kids during the first Bush administration. Since then he has done nothing noteworthy besides write a little poetry, survive a motorcycle crash, buy and sell an electric car, raise his kids, manage to stay married and maintain his practice for almost 25 years. He believes in magic and is a Sacramento Kings fan.