1st Verse – The Eternal Tao

Sunset on Crystal Lake

The Tao that can be told
is not the eternal Tao.
The name that can be named
is not the eternal name.

The Tao is both named and nameless.
As nameless it is the origin of all things;
As named it is the Mother of 10,000 things.

Ever desireless, one can see the mystery;
Ever desiring, one sees only the manifestations.
And the mystery itself is the doorway to
all understanding.


Faith is what this verse speaks to me. Faith in “the way”, faith in yourself, faith in “what is”.

As I meditated and let the words from this verse pass through my mind, I focused on not intellectualizing the words, but instead let them repeat and fill the spaces between my thoughts. Once I cleared my mind of competing ideas and thoughts, I felt the word “faith” roll across my mind. I repeated the word to myself once it came to me and I felt the word reverberate around my consciousness. Even though the intellectual part of my brain told me that “faith” did not make sense for this verse, I instantly felt a direct connection with that word and this verse.

Let go and trust

The next day in Yoga class I set this verse as my intention for the day. As I performed the yoga moves called out by the instructor, I let the words from the verse repeat in my mind. Once again, I felt a series of certain words present themselves to me. As I was in some position that I don’t remember; breathing, sweating, and grimacing from pushing the position past the edges of my abilities, I felt the words “Let go and trust” come to mind. Like in the meditation, they were not words that I was thinking, but rather feeling. It was as if someone was speaking the words to me instead of me creating the words in my own mind.

These words to me seem to be just another way to say “faith”.

The funny thing is that not only did I see a direct connection with this verse, but also with my life. If you read the opening blog post on why I decided to start this blog, you know that in the weeks leading up to this journey, I was asking for guidance and determined to let go of the reins holding me back in my life. Coincidence?

More About the Verse

It may not be evident at first how this verse speaks faith and to be honest I was confused at first why that word came to mind in regards to it. So lets look at what this verse is saying.

There is a quote from Soren Kierkegaard, a Danish philosopher from the 1800’s.

“Once you label me, you negate me”

This means that once you put a label on someone such as black, white, Asian, Latino, etc. you are limiting that person to the expectations or stereotypes that go along with that label. When in reality that person is endless in possibility; more endless than we even realize. If instead we saw that person without labels, we could see their infinite potential.

The same goes for labels that we put on ourselves. Take a minute to think of the labels that you believe in yourself. Fat, skinny, angry, friendly, lawyer, doctor, Mom, Dad, brother, sister, old, young, etc. There are labels that we give ourselves and others for our occupation, our looks, our hobbies, our wealth, our health…and on and on. Each of those labels has a set of common characteristics that go with them. We expect that someone with a particular label is a certain way. Think about how freeing it would be without all of those labels.

“As nameless it is the origin of all things”, meaning that if we don’t assign labels or names, everything is endless and connected with the source.

“As named it is the Mother of 10,000 things”, meaning that now that we have put a label or a name on it, it is limited to the things that we can come to know with our senses.

“Ever desireless, one can see the mystery”, meaning that if we let go of trying to label it and essentially trying to control it by limiting it to our labels, we can see the mystery or the source.

“Ever desiring, one sees only the manifestations”, meaning that if we have the need to seek out labels in order to define it, we limit it to what we can experience with our senses and to the characteristics that we associate with the label.

I struggled with the last two lines of this verse. “And the mystery itself is the doorway to all understanding.”

I kept trying to intellectualize these lines. These are the two lines that I was chanting in my mind when the words “let go and trust” hit me during my yoga class.

To me this means that if we let go of our need to label or control and let go of the reins by trusting in the source, we can then start to realize our true potential.

In other words, having faith in what is.

How are you holding back the reins in your own life? How do you limit yourself and those around you by labeling?


2 thoughts on “1st Verse – The Eternal Tao

  1. Pingback: 4th Verse « AlongtheTao

  2. Pingback: 41st Verse – Duality of Appearances « AlongtheTao

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