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Pathless Path

Taoism (also known as Daoism) is a Chinese philosophy attributed to Lao Tzu (c. 500 BCE) which contributed to the folk religion of the people primarily in the rural areas of China and became the official religion of the country under the Tang Dynasty. Taoism is therefore both a philosophy and a religion.

Those who have known, not by words, not by scriptures, not by rituals, but by actually living life, from amongst those are very few. And from amongst those yet fewer persons, who having known, have ceaselessly endeavoured to reveal what they have known, Lao Tzu is one of them and one of the ancient wise Master! But the very first experience of those enlightened ones, who have tried to express what they have known is – my gratitude to them from my heart!

Before we understand what medicine, is? We need to understand what Health is.  English word “Health” is very immature, as it does not help us understand what health is, it only explains what disease is.  So, we need to go back in ancient time to understand.  In Sanskrit the work “Swastay” means; I am in myself full and healthy from mind, emotional and physical aspect. I am content in myself. I am overflowing with positive energy and willing to share with others. I am gone beyond death, is the meaning of Swastay, or we can say Health!

Taoism starts with very first not being in mind but beyond the mind!

Now, if someone wishes to make a picture of the sky, this can never be. Whatever picture is made, it will not be of the sky, for space is that which embodies everything. A picture cannot contain anything; it, in itself is surrounded by space or the sky.

So, truth expressed in words, will be like the skies depicted in a picture. No bird can fly in the sky of a picture, no sun comes out in the morning or stars at night. It is dead for all purposes and the sky only in name. The sky cannot be in a picture. The greatest difficulty that a person encounters when (s)he sets forth to express Truth is, that no sooner Truth is converted into words, it becomes Un-Truth. It becomes just what it is not. Then what was to be conveyed, remains unsaid.  Taoism medicine is 60% in self-healing then helping others with awareness, compassion and devotion and 40% is physical modalities.

Tao is a peerless word. Try to understand its full meaning so we can proceed with ease. One interpretation of Tao is: “The Way.” But all paths are bound and fixed! What sort of a path is Tao?

It is like the path that a bird makes; in the skies as it flies — the path is formed but it is not fixed. All other paths leave their marks behind, which makes it easy for others to follow. Tao is a path like the bird makes in the skies — there are no footprints left behind for the convenience of others to follow. If we visualize a path that is unconstructed, a path where there are no footprints, a path that no other person can create for you. You travel and as you travel the path is formed — then we can interpret Tao as: ‘The Way’. But such a path we see nowhere! Therefore, is it proper to call Tao — ‘The Way’ or ‘A path without a path’!

Another interpretation of Tao is ‘Religion’. But Religion not in the sense that we generally understand. Religion here is what the ancient Rishis (Monks) meant. Religion means the Regulation that holds all within itself. The Ultimate Law that holds all Existence, is the Tao Religion. And this Religion is not akin to the Hindu, Christianity, Islam or the Buddhist and Jain religions. Religion is the Absolute Law of Existence. Religion means the Eternal Law of Life. But all laws are limited. Tao is a law that has no boundaries – A boundary less and eternal full religion. And we express this as (Dharma Sharnam Gachhami – going in the shelter of one and self-truth).

Creation is born out of disorder, anarchy. Out of chaos comes creation. In the absence of chaos, there can be no creation. And if creation alone is, it will never end, for it will have to plunge into chaos to end itself. When we say, ‘The Principle,’ we leave out chaos; but this too, is a part of existence. Everything in existence does not occur with principle, or else life would become worthless, mechanical.

There is something in this existence that happens outside this law. Whatever is non-significant obeys the principle, but the most profound experiences of life follow no regulations. They come suddenly, uncalled, without any cause, and knock at your door and opens your heart with so much love, so much compassion, or rips you apart without any reason, you cannot put this experience in logic.  And this understand that logic is unlogical – Taoism is way to understand this.

Lao Tzu says at the same time: “It is neither the enduring nor the unchanging Tao.” And if God also changes, can we call him/her a God? And if the Path also changes, can it be called a Path? And if truth changes, can it be called Truth? What is expected of Truth is, that no matter how much we go astray, how farther away we wander, when we reach, it will still be the same — The Same. Whatever we are, however, we are; after wandering for countless births, when we reach the Door, it will still be The Same, that it Ever Was.

Lao Tzu’s teachings were based on the statement: “There is nothing.” This was difficult to be digested by most people. We are ready to concede that thoughts should be extinct — but ‘I’ should exist! Liberation is very good — but ‘I’ must be! ‘I’ must remain. Buddha pronounced “Even the Soul is not”. This also is a thought.” This understand is the way of Taoism.

When Tertullian, the devotee of Jesus, was urged to speak on Jesus, to describe him, to give examples to explain what Jesus was like, he used to reply, “Do not force me. Jesus was just as he was. He was just like himself.” He could not be compared to another. What will happen in the state of Tao; What remains is that which you have never known before. This much can be said that there will be no thought there, not even the thought that ‘I am thoughtless’. And yet, a consciousness remains — such Consciousness, as you have never known before.

The truth is, there is no duality outside of the mind. Outside of mind, is the undivided whole. There is no experience of the Absolute — not even so much that you can say: “It is like this”. At the most what you can say is: “It is not like this; it is not like that”.

Lao Tzu says, “Name-less is the creator of Existence the Origin of all Existence; and ‘The Name’ is the Mother of all objects.” Therefore, we cannot give a name to Parmatman (God) for as soon as we name him. He becomes an object.

Whatever we name, becomes an object. If we give a name to atman, it becomes an object and if we do not name, even a stone, becomes atman (Soul). If we attribute no name, if our mind does not create a name and if without words, without names, we look at even a stone, God (Consciousness) will reveal himself to us in that mere stone.

Even if, we give a name to a heart pulsating with love — ‘my son, my mother, my lover.’ — Then this throbbing heart becomes a dead piece of stone. Name converts consciousness into object. Leave names, and objects turn into living consciousness. Lao Tzu breaks existence into two parts in order to explain. He divides it into Heaven and Earth.

By Earth he means matter; by Heaven he means, experience, perception, consciousness, understanding. So according to him, the creator of all matter and all consciousness is Name-less. Heaven is an experience whereas Earth is a state of order, a condition. In the days of Lao Tzu, Earth was Meant to convey the meaning of matter and heaven was used to convey the meaning of consciousness, for the experience of heaven was felt by understanding. Lao Tzu has used these two terms in this context. Matter conveys the meaning of rigidity, immovability; heaven conveys the meaning of consciousness, feeling. The primal source of all matter and all consciousness is Name-less and the process of attributing names, is the mother of all objects.

“Lao Tzu has given it a beautiful name, wu wei, action through inaction. You can call it creative quietude – a process that combines within a single individual two seeming incompatibles: supreme activity and supreme relaxation.

That’s the paradox of creativity. If you see a painter painting, certainly he is active, utterly active, madly active; he is all action. Or you see a dancer dancing; he is all action. But still, deep down there is no actor, no doer; there is all silence. Hence, I called creativity the state of paradox. All beautiful states are paradoxical. The higher you go, the deeper you go into the paradox of reality.

“Creative quietude is the supreme action, the precious suppleness, simplicity, spontaneity and freedom that flows from us, or rather through us, whenever private egos and conscious efforts yield to a power not their own.

Yielding to power not of your own, surrendering to a power that is beyond you, is creativity. Meditation is creativity. And when the ego disappears, the wound in you disappears; you are healed, you are whole. The ego is your dis-ease. And when the ego disappears you are no longer dormant, you start flowing. You start flowing with the immense flow of existence.”

Yog Nanak!