“The tao that can be told
is not the eternal Tao.”
~ Stephen Mitchell (trans.), Tao Te Ching: A New English Version. New York: Harper Perennial, 2006.
This is the first line in the first chapter of the text. One implication you might draw is: read no further, you’re done! The end—in the sense of the goal, purpose, or “takeway”—is contained in the beginning. The text begins by telling us to let go of text itself—of words, ideas, concepts. As you’ll see throughout, the Daodejing is intent on disrupting our conventional view of the relationship between mind, word, and world. Our minds create and cling to our words, we come to confuse our words with the world, and this cuts our minds off from the world itself.
Lao-tzu would agree with Emerson: “Every word was once a poem.”
What words are you stuck to today?