Knowledge, Wisdom, and the Tao Te Ching

Speaking of the Unspeakable Which is Unknowable and Inexpressible

Nancy WyattThis topic is on my mind today because it creates problems for me. It’s about providing wisdom…or not. I am a personal growth and spiritual guidance teacher. I also offer writing and editing services and teach basic business and presentation topics. However, the greatest challenge I face in the first categories is the total failure of words to encompass the concepts. As a Life Coach and as a writer, I know the ideas I want to convey are greatly reduced by the use of words.

Reiki symbol wisdomAnyone who practices (or experiences) Reiki and other healing techniques knows exactly what I mean. There are no words which wholly depict the experience. Physical and spiritual sensations may manifest as radiance, heat, healing, tingling, and sacredness. It is true regardless of whether one is giving or receiving Reiki. But those words are insufficient descriptions and serve to unduly limit a limitless awareness. It’s kind of like using the word “God” to describe “God.”

Contemplation of this dilemma leads me back to one of my favorite teachings: the Tao Te Ching. 


Wisdom

The Tao Te Ching is the source for  Taoist teachings and it is subject to vastly different interpretations, as set forth in this link. Here is an example from Chapter 48 that is pertinent to today’s topic.

bookworm with glassesIn the pursuit of knowledge, every day something is added. In practice of the Tao, every day something is dropped.’

or

Those who seek knowledge, collect something every day. Those who seek the Way, let go of something every day.

In other words, “facts and figures” are irrelevant to the basic truths of existence. Your mind may not know what your Soul knows.   A person can spend a lifetime taking classes, reading, and otherwise gaining knowledge and not have a basic understanding of Life, quality of life, or purpose of life. That person may exhibit no wisdom. On the other hand, a person might not have ANY education, but be thoroughly attuned to and in harmony with all of Life, its forms, and its higher essence. That person’s whole life may be based on and reflect wisdom.


The Problem with Wisdom

Here is another form of the problem.

“Those who know don’t say and those who don’t know say.”

Buddha wisdom

 That is because words diminish the concept…even when (or especially when) you know that you know! What’s a writer or a spiritual counselor to do?!

I guess the only answer is to offer the best version of wisdom and understanding that one can at any moment in time. It helps to give “the audience” examples with which they can relate. Demonstrations can be useful. As with Reiki, whatever can be conveyed by giving people an experience of it is better than a mere lecture with words. You can provide images (photos, drawings, videos, etc.). However, I provided to you an image of the hands with a Reiki symbol. Looking at that may be interesting, but it does not imbue you with what happens when you give or receive a treatment.


I am not in the habit of doing a blog which is a complaint or a lament. This is the exception. To make it worth your time, I refer you again to teachings of the Master in the Tao Te ChingA short and simple summary of the concepts in each of the 81 chapters can be found here.  I love to listen to it as an audiobook, which now is available on YouTube. The Book of the Way. It is profound, enlightening, and calming for those who “have the ears to hear.”

Do It The Write Way! Let My Fingers Do Your Talking!

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