Spiritual Practice and the Tao (Theory)

January 28, 2008

The Tao Te Ching, as translated by Ellen Chen (Professor of Philosophy, Saint John’s University, NYC), begins: “Tao that can be spoken of is not the Everlasting (ch’eng) Tao.” Translated by Thomas Cleary (Professor of East Asian Studies, Harvard), it reads: “A way can be a guide, but not a fixed path.”

Explorers must create their own paths. Explorers of the physical world didn’t have a path, but they did have a methodology. In Chinese this would be called a tao. Explorers of the human psyche and realms beyond the psyche also have no path, but they too have a methodology – they too have a tao. One possible translation of tao is praxis (practice as opposed to theory). Thus the first sentence of the Tao Te Ching might be translated, “The praxis that can be practiced is not an everlasting praxis.”

For centuries, scholars have debated the meanings of the Tao Te Ching. But what its first sentence is saying to me as author of this blog and to you as reader is that spirituality is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. An explorer in Antarctica will need different tools and skills from an explorer in the Amazon; a spiritual explorer going into his own psyche will need tools and skills that differ from another spiritual explorer.

This blog will present a tao, but it cannot present the tao. It will present practices that I have found valuable in my spiritual explorations – practices that you may find useful, adapt to your circumstances, or reject altogether. This blog will stress your connection with your own Source of Higher Wisdom. In the end, that Wisdom will guide your praxis.

My connecton with Higher Wisdm has led me to erotic spirituality – which will be the focus of next week’s postings.

One Response to “Spiritual Practice and the Tao (Theory)”

  1. tao nan said

    why you think that it is Tao.
    Tao much large than you can think
    Tao much deep than you can measure
    So see and don’t think anything, and you will see Tao.
    And you will understand with out thinking.

    Is it true?
    mmmm 🙂

    Tao Nan

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