Tao Te Ching: Verse 4

I’m posting waaaaay more than I intended to. But I find today’s contemplation interesting enough to share. I realised that I’ve started thinking of the Tao as the eternal energy of life. It is not simply “a way of living”, but it is the essence of life, the true nature of the universe that each of us are part of. It seems I’ve always been a closet Taoist, I’ve just never known it.

Verse 4 [original]

The Tao is empty
but inexhaustable,
the ancestor of it all.

Within it the sharp edges become smooth;
the twisted knots loosen;
the sun is softened by a cloud;
the dust settles into place. 

It is hidden but always present.
I do not know who gave birth to it.
It seems to be the common ancestor of it all, the father of all things. 

Verse 4 [my interpretation]

The Tao is infinite, inexhaustible, incomprehensibly vast.

Within it, all the problems we think we have dissolve.
In one year, the problems of today will not matter.
Nor will they in one hundred years.
Nor one million.
Nor an uncountable amount of time.
Compared to infinity, our petty thorns are not worth our anguish.

In the Tao all things settle;
they return to peace and nothingness
before being chaotically reborn again.

The Tao is everywhere, all around us at every moment.
It encompasses us, embraces us.
It is.

I do not know what came before God;
I cannot know.
But of all I can know,
it seems to me that the Tao preceded it all.


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