The Tao is empty
the ancestor of 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 all,
the father of things.
The Tao is empty because it has no physical form. We can’t see it or touch it, yet it exists in everything. Because it is in everything, it is inexhaustible. It has no ends.
In physics, they talk about the law of the conservation of energy which says that energy can change location and form, but can neither be created nor destroyed.
The same is true for the power of God, universal energy or whatever you want to call it. That energy never goes away because it flows through everything. We cannot see it or touch it and it is something that we cannot even comprehend. It is so far beyond the laws of our understanding of our physical world that we have no language to describe it. Yet is permeates through us and through everything that we comprehend.
Sharp Edges and Twisted Knots
The second stanza talks about how if we submit to the Tao and stop trying to control it (i.e. instead have faith like we talked about in the 1st verse) the “sharp edges” and “twisted knots” that we have created in our lives will be smoothed out and loosened and everything “will settle into place”.
Instead our typical response is to hold on tighter to those “sharp edges” and “twisted knots”, try to control them more, and put even more negative energy into them thinking that it will solve the problem. We hate, we lie, we get angry or depressed, we turn to drugs and alcohol to numb the pain and we fight against God/Universe thinking that we can overcome our natural selves. All we are doing is sharpening those edges and tightening those knots even more.
In other words, we make things more difficult for ourselves. If instead we loosen our grasp on the knots, let go of the edge and open our minds to pay attention to the natural flow of things, everything will begin to happen according to our true purpose.
My Own Example
This concept is something that I myself have experienced recently. As I talked about in my first post, I have a successful career that provides a good life for my family and I. However, I have struggled for years feeling unfulfilled and knowing that I should be doing something different. I spent many hours reading career related articles and books, taking career finder tests, and talking to people in different fields. All of this time was spent trying to find something that resonated with me. Nothing did.
I now realize that this was me attempting to control and direct my own life for my own purposes. All I was doing was tightening the knots and sharpening the edges.
For years I have had ideas for books coming to me constantly. One particular book idea has been popping up in my mind for several years. I continually put it aside, ignored it and found excuses why being a writer didn’t make sense for me. I was supposed to be doing these other things that I was forcing myself into all those years.
Once I let go and opened up to let my purpose be revealed to me instead of trying to force it in a certain direction, I started to notice signs and “coincidences” that I had always ignored before. That led me to start this blog and to start letting out the creativity that I was holding inside for so long. This then allowed me to realize how strong my passion is for writing.
Now for me the knots feel like they are slowly untwisting and the sharp edges are smoothing out. This is allowing that natural energy of God/Universe to flow and things are starting to feel like they are falling into place.
How are you holding yourself back by clutching on tight to the knots and sharp edges in your life? What are you not paying attention to?