Two thousand four hundred years after it was composed, we need the Tao Te Ching’s lessons in self-awareness more than ever. Little can be said with absolute certainty about the origins of the Tao Te Ching. Consensus suggests it was written around 400BC by one Laozi. Laozi translates simply as “old master” – a hint that the author’s (or authors’) true name has been lost for ever.
Tao Te Ching translates very roughly as “the way of integrity”. In its 81 verses it delivers a treatise on how to live in the world with goodness and integrity: an important kind of wisdom in a world where many people believe such a thing to be impossible.
us how we might see things if we could spend more time in awareness, and less in naming. “Practice not-doing, and everything will fall into place.” This, from the third verse, sounds positively heretical to the work- and productivity-obsessed modern mind. Perhaps if we were more aware, we would worry less, and could see better what actually needs doing.
The Tao Te Ching is a 2,400-year-old reminder that today, as then, every one of us has a choice to practice self-awareness and exercise our own power in and over the world. That might come as more of a nasty wake up call than a comfort to some of us. Either way, Study this ancient text and be all the wiser on your path to enlightenment! Namaste!
The tao that can be described
is not the eternal Tao.
The name that can be spoken
is not the eternal Name.
The nameless is the boundary of Heaven and Earth.
The named is the mother of creation.
Freed from desire, you can see the hidden mystery.
By having desire, you can only see what is visibly
Yet mystery and reality
emerge from the same source.
This source is called darkness.
Darkness born from darkness.
The beginning of all understanding.
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