“Tao Teh Ching: Chapter 4” by Lao Tzu


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The Tao is like an empty bowl,
Which in being used can never be filled up.
Fathomless, it seems to be the origin of all things.
It blunts all sharp edges,
It unties all tangles,
It harmonizes all lights,
It unites the world into one whole.
Hidden in the deeps,
Yet it seems to exist for ever.
I do not know whose child it is;
It seems to be the common ancestor of all, the father
of things.

Reading this passage was a contemplative exercise for me. It seeks to describe something universal and ineffable, which is the source of all existence. We are but tiny molecules in a vast and unknowable realm of existence. It is therefore impossible to answer the question: from what did the beginning of all things come? But to meditate on this makes you humble and puts life into perspective; for me it does, anyway.

It’s very easy to get caught up in the insanity of our daily lives. This passage encourages us to pause, to recognize that in the grand scheme we are fairly insignificant, yet at the same time, because we are part of the universal whole, we are also incredibly important.

Pause, meditate, and have a blessed day.



Filed under Literature, Spiritual

4 responses to ““Tao Teh Ching: Chapter 4” by Lao Tzu

  1. The Tao is like crazy wisdom to me … mind-bending, at least to the Western mind. Like ‘do without doing and everything gets done’ … you can feel the typical Western mind short-circuiting! 🙂 And all of those lovely bowl, well, valley, water, bamboo tree metaphors … Natural systems! It makes sense in that way. Lovely share, Jeff. Thank you. It does bring a calming essence even in reading it here. ~ Jamie

    • Hi Jamie. Crazy wisdom. I like that. I’m really glad that you are enjoying the posts. Writing about the Tao is really stepping out of my comfort zone, but it’s a good thing. Forces me to step back and look at things from a different perspective.

  2. Thank you for this moment with those words.