Monday, July 3, 2017

Making Tao Real

For Lao-tzu, following the courses and currents of Tao was the way to live one’s life. Simplicity. Humility. Silence. Stillness. Doing without doing. These help make that happen.

He knew there was more than could be seen or heard or smelled or tasted or touched. He realized that to get hung up in names and words like God and Tao and Holy Spirit just muddies the waters. It creates the illusion of divisions where none exist.

What Lao-tzu was writing about was experiential. What Jesus was talking about was experiential. What Buddha was talking about was experiential. We can’t transfer our experiences to one another. Only our limited descriptions of them and our acting out of the parts we can’t explain in words.

There is no Tao, no God, no Holy Spirit until you experience it. You can choose to believe it’s real because people you love and trust have told you to believe it’s real, but that doesn’t make it real. Only after you experience it does it become real.


Painting Demos by Brian Rice said...

It is in the experience of the ultimate reality that it becomes real to you, so true, and to convince others of this inner truth is impossible. I have had such indescribable experiences in my own lifetime but words cannot express it. In many ways spiritual experience is very personal isn't it. Good thoughts HK.

Painting Demos by Brian Rice said...

I also like what you said here:

"He realized that to get hung up in names and words like God and Tao and Holy Spirit just muddies the waters. It creates the illusion of divisions where none exist."

I find that many Christians get hung up on Jesus and Christ like this. They can't realize any reality beyond these concepts. One young pastor told me recently that he can't see God clearly in philosophies and other religions because it just muddies (same word you used) the clarity for him of his vision of Christ. He can't see beyond the Christ because for him, Christ, is the whole. I can appreciate that but aren't we just talking about the same thing by a different name. Richard Rhor speaks about the Christ concept as originally being the Creation itself, that was the first manifestation. It was this same Creation principle of life (similar to the Tao or Brahman)or cosmic Christ that became embodied and realized in the man Jesus who for many is the way (TAO), the truth and the life. Now, if I say that to most Christians they think it is some sort of blasphemy but this interpretation can all be found indirectly or directly in their own scripture.

HK Stewart said...


First, I know what you mean about those ineffable spiritual experiences. And yes, they're deeply personal. That's really all they can be. That's one of the things that makes them so compelling, but also so frustrating. And so easy to dismiss by others. That's why we keep them to ourselves. They're too private, too intimate. To put them out in the world is to throw "pearls before swine."

Second, words and names and labels are important because they're part of language, and language is one of the tools we think with. But language can only get us so far. Especially when we try to use it to think about or talk about or write about or argue about that which cannot be named.

As for blasphemy, everybody has his or her own definition of what that is, but when you lay these definitions side by side, they don't match up. One person's blasphemy is another person's truth. That's why I've given up on that word. It doesn't really mean anything to me anymore.

Thanks again for reading and writing.

H. K.