The Tao is called the Great Mother:
Empty yet inexhaustible,
it gives birth to infinite worlds.
It is always present within you.
You can use it any way you want.
(Tao Te Ching, chapter six, translation by Stephen MItchell)
Day Six. Lao Tzu has been pointing us in the direction of the Tao. Showing us how the Tao manifests itself in our Universe. Desires hinder our ability to understand the eternally real. Our senses can’t really experience the Tao. We have eyes to see and ears to hear, but they can’t see and hear it. It is incomprehensible. And some of you, might just be thinking, “Then, why bother?”
And I would answer, “Don’t. Seriously. Don’t bother.”
Bothering isn’t going to help us along our journey. Trying to understand, trying to grasp something that is ungraspable, is foolishness. Instead of trying, instead of doing anything at all, just stop and breathe and relax. And just be. Don’t make this so hard.
At least, that is what I keep telling myself. Because I, too, get frustrated with the pace sometimes. Wouldn’t it be so much nicer if we could just see it with our eyes and hear it with our ears? I don’t know about that. What I do know is that we cannot experience the Tao like that.
But we can experience its manifestations. And we will be able to trace those manifestations, right back to the Source.
So, I am going to follow my own advice and just let Lao Tzu lead the way. What have we learned so far? The Tao is like a well, used but never used up. It is like the eternal void, filled with infinite possibilities. It is like a bellows, empty yet infinitely capable. And today, Lao Tzu builds on all of that.
The Tao is called the Great Mother. Empty (there is that word empty again), yet inexhaustible. That word empty is important. Because of the paradox. When we think of empty, we don’t think of infinitely capable. And we certainly don’t think of inexhaustible. When we think of empty we think this is the end. The well has run dry. It is finished. We are done for. The fat lady has sung. But the fat lady needs to be escorted from the stage, because her presence on the stage was a bit premature. For the Tao’s emptiness is not like any emptiness we have ever experienced before.
Calling the Tao the Great Mother is just another metaphor. We just keep pointing a finger at the moon. Do you see it? Do you see it? No, not with your eyes looking outwardly. That isn’t where we will find the Tao.
But the Tao is called the Great Mother for a very good reason. It truly is inexhaustible; and, it gives birth to infinite worlds.
Oh, but why does it have to be hidden from us? Why can’t it be as plain as the nose on my face? Well….
It is. I know it doesn’t seem that way, at all. Appearances can be deceiving. This shroud of mystery surrounding the Tao. Darkness within darkness. This gateway to all understanding. But reality is so much better than our clouded perceptions. It really is as plain as the nose on your face.
The Tao isn’t off in some far flung corner of the Universe giving birth to infinite worlds, inaccessible to us mere mortals. The Tao may be hidden to your senses, but it is always present within you. And once you have discovered it there, you can use it any way you want.