An Ongoing Self-Realization of the Tao (the Way)
Tao, as chanted by Laozi in Tao Te Ching, is the absolute principle underlying the universe. I’m certain many of you are at least familiar with the word. The word Tao signifies “way”, “path”, “key”, “truth, and many other things. However, my favorite interpretation of Tao is “the flow of Universe”. Just like many of you, I didn’t understand what Tao actually means and I’m still learning and practicing the Tao. But I want to try to put into words of my current understanding of the Tao (However, Laozi has already said that the Way can’t not be realized through words).
“The Way that can be told is not the eternal Way. The word that can be spoken is not the eternal Word.” — Tao Te Ching
Before learning the Tao, I had many questions in my mind as I am a naturally skeptical and rational being. I doubted the concept of “absolute principle”. I had questions like — what is the Way? Is there really one Way? Can there be only one Way for everyone? I didn’t believe it.
But then it changed. I was convinced about the depth and the wisdom of the Tao. Before we go on and before we try to understand what Tao actually mean, we have to be open-minded and first empty everything that’s in our minds. Empty your preconceived notions about everything. Empty your accumulated experiences in this world. Understand that you are just one data point and you have limits. How can you understand the system (the Universe) based on your own experiences? So, let’s empty our minds here (or try your best).
(From here, I’m going to use the Way and the Tao interchangeably because it’s Easier to visualize the Way instead of the Tao)
First, to know the Way, you have to understand that the Way does not have a sense of time. The first mistake we make when we perceive reality is by fitting things and events into a chronological order. We can’t perceive and divide our lives into the past, the present, and the future. With such measurement of time, we are distorting the reality in a certain way.
Let me be more exact about the reality we are trying to form with time, we are creating a plane of 4 dimensions and in this reality there’s T, X, Y, and Z variables. What we are so accustomed to do is that we mentally sliced a part of the Universe, the ongoing reality, into a 4 dimensions piece by adding a period of time and register that with our perceptions.
However, how can such reality be of truth? By simply taking a bunch of sub-realities and store that in our brain/mind/perception, we become impure and drift away from the Way. Once we started using time as a measure, it starts ticking. It doesn’t stop. It does not wait for no one. Don’t you try to stop it or define it. Because once you do, you are forming a impure reality that’s not close to the Way.
You have to simply acknowledge that time passes and as time passes you flow with it. By doing so, there would be tremendous benefits, energies, and vibrations that will follow your spirit because you are no longer stuck. You became one with the time. Then you see beyond time.
TIME MOVES ON.
TIME NEVER STOPS.
Your heart suffers because it lives in a world where time takes away things and brings things to life.
Time brings you a moment of joy and then takes it away.
Time brings you a moment of peace and then takes it away.
Don’t try to trade your time with money, power, and external temptations. Because it’s a losing game, you have to look beyond time so your work will not die with time. You see, to try to understand the Way you have to understand that the Way has no sense of time. The Way lives in eternity. And there’s no superiority to this thought. Eternity exists in everyone’s worlds. We all live with it. We just have to discover it and manifest it.
Now we’ve understood that the Way has no sense of time, we also have to understand that the way has not judgement and no value system. How? Because human sufferings exist when one starts to define what’s good and what’s bad. When you think you are doing the “good” things, by believing so, you are putting “bad” in perspective. Your belief has created “bad”. You start seeing “bad” things. So you fight, your good things have to CLASH, FIGHT, RESIST to their BAD things…
By fighting the judgement of good and bad, you are not acknowledging the fact that there’s no good without bad and no bad without good. They are an Unity and can’t be seen and understood by looking at only one side. Good and Bad are perpetually pushing and transforming each other. They expand and flow with each others’ boundaries, horizons all the time. GOOD AND BAD FLOWS. Perceive them, but remember that they are not fixed forms.
You have to remember, whenever you are trying to realize the Way by forcing in factors of “TIME” and “JUDGEMENT” then you are creating a reality that’s not pure. To realize the Way you have to understand that NOW is the way. Now is your Way, my Way, everyone’s Way. We have it, but we have to live it. Let me ask, can you live in the past? Can you live in the future? Can I? Can you? Can she? Can he? Can they? No, no one can live in the past or future. we can only live in the Way (Now).
To further understand the Way, let’s explore the relationship between “DESIRE” and “REALITY”. Remember this, desire is the ultimate creator and the destroyer of our realities. To realize the Way, you have to deal a lot with desires. When you have a desire such as “I want to feel learned”, or “ I want to feel accomplished”, or “I want to help others”, or “I want to feel needed”. Such desires create a impure reality that if you don’t recognize, will form a bunch of sub-realities in which your being will suffer from. How?
- Your desire will create 1 reality. In this reality, you are driven by the needs of your desire. All your thoughts, behaviors, judgements are forming to pursue your desire.
2. To realize the Way, simply notice the 1 reality you created by tracing the root of desire. By doing this, you created 2. (You are now aware of the previous 1 reality you created, therefore there are two realities now).
3. However, once you became aware, you will start to notice that you’re noticing the fact that you created 2. By doing so, 2 creates 3 and from there you will have infinite realities.
“The Way produced the One; the One produced the Two; the Two produced the Three; the Three produced all beings.” — Tao Te Ching
The Way creates all the WAYS. All the realities you perceive. If we don’t recognize step 1, in which the first reality is created, then we will live a life full of illusions created by our desires. Here’s how it goes, my being desires something, then the desire creates a sense of urgency, a sense of needs, and then forms all the thoughts we have, all the behaviors we conduct, and shape our mental states with impurity. When we attach ourselves to one desire or multiple desires, they go off and creates all the realities after. Remember it all started with the 1 REALITY you are forming. And that’s where everyone is stuck. To be attached to that one reality instead of living in the Way. Here are some examples:
Ego: Arghhhhh, I want to feel learned (desire)-> I feel like I have not been productive today. I want to do better tomorrow. I feel bad. (realities formed).
Ego: Arghhhhh, I want to help the world (desire)-> But I’m so limited by my own capacity and there’s so much evil in the world to fight, I feel stranded and helpless. (realities formed).
See, this one desire goes and create your realities of thoughts and then disturb your peace. If you understand this, then you can detach yourself from it. Live in the Tao. Live in the Way. It does not mean you can’t have desire. You absolutely can, but you are not attached to it. We come to this world and we are conditioned to desire so much. We desire money, power, knowledge, control, stability, happiness, success, etc. When things don’t go your way, you lose balance and control. You suffer. Don’t get stuck in this karma cycle. You want to be in the circle of life in which you have let go of control and desire. Focus your energies there and that’s where you push the eternity of life and that’s where you serve. Don’t be attached to desire. Detach yourself from it. Don’t seize control. Let go.
If you let go, everything will go the Way. Learn to work with the fluidity of the Universe and try to transcend yourself by self-realizing your being. We are all living being with eternity in us. We all carry the Truth and the Way. It’s in everyone of us. Our desires and our journeys in this world can only be saved by ourselves, and to save ourselves is to save others. Because we all live in the One. Remember, it’s not about saving yourself, by saving and self-realizing yourself from sufferings, you are completing the One circle of life where all our lives begin and end.
“One who gives oneself to studies, each day increases (one’s information). One who gives oneself to the Way, each day diminishes (one’s desire). One diminishes them continually until one attains non-action. When one attained non-action all things are possible for one. Through non-action one becomes master of the kingdom. One who follows action cannot become master of kingdom.” — Tao Te Ching
The Way is changing all the time just like everything else. formless -> form, 0 -> 1, no thoughts -> thoughts. But you see why it’s changing? Because everything eventually goes back another way. form -> formless, 1-> 0, thoughts -> no thoughts.
Don’t try to grasp, ever. you can only learn how to dance with the form and formless. Keep your mind pure and clean and don’t hold onto fixed ideas.
Why do people who seem to be living with the highest purpose are the ones who seem calm? They are not rushing anywhere because they’ve faced and understood their eternities. They are walking on the Way in which the concept of time does not apply!
P.S. If you like what you’re reading and want to read more, feel free to share the article or engage in a discussion with me.