The Tao is empty
When utilized, it is not filled up
So deep! It seems to be the source of all things
Empty, and yet never exhausted
It moves, and produces more
Tao Te Ching, Chapters 4-5
Tao can’t be seen, heard, or touched (Tao Te Ching 14-15). It’s nameless and without conventional qualities.
The mystery of the void is that it is non-being and has no inherent existence, but yet it exhibits relational attributes, it has no ending or limits, it ever flows and changes like a river, it serves as context for matter and reality. It’s the realm of infinite possibility. It’s impartial, and ever moves and produces new forms effortlessly just by yielding.
There is no jihad in the Tao. Jihad means struggle. If you don’t contend or fight, there is peace.
Only rebellion against the nature of things, which includes non-being and the void, produces needless jihad. This struggle is a symptom of existential anxiety, a needless desire to express aggression and action for the sake of “God”, which then replaces non-being.
The man who invents God could have accepted the nature of things, but he instead chooses to invest in a needless effort, which is wasted. He is trying to fix something that does not need fixing. Through this effort, he dodges insights into true nature and into his own nature, which is incomplete, but perfect in its incompleteness because nothing is ever complete and perfect except in Plato’s imaginal realm.
Yet yearning for Perfect Being or Perfect Nature or some other arbitrary, imaginary idea, men who rebel against the nature of things invent a personal divinity, personify the cosmos as a Supreme Being instead of accepting atoms and Supreme Non-Being (the void). This action, this effort, is detrimental, counter-productive and produces confusion about the nature of things. Atheist spirituality can be understood, from the perspective of Tao, as an effortless approach to reality, one that does not struggle or rebel against the nature of things, that accepts the Supreme Non-being underlying ultimate reality.
Who can be muddled yet desist
In stillness gradually become clear?
Who can be serene yet persist
In motion gradually come alive?
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