In the Tao Te Ching Verse 14, Lao Tzu opens our eyes to the energy beyond the physical. We’re called to move beyond our senses and connect with the ancient beginning and eternal nature of source.
Let’s take a look at Dr. Wayne Dyer’s interpretation here:
14th Verse of the Tao Te Ching
That which cannot be seen is called invisible.
That which cannot be heard is called inaudible.
That which cannot be held is called intangible.
These three cannot be defined;
therefore, they are merged as one.
Each of these three is subtle for description.
By intuition you can see it,
and feel it.
Then the unseen,
are present as one.
Its rising brings no dawn,
its setting no darkness;
it goes on and on, unnameable,
returning into nothingness.
Approach it, and there is no beginning;
follow it, and there is no end.
You cannot know it, but you can be it,
at ease in your own life.
Discovering how things have always been
brings one into harmony with the Way.
Tao Te Ching Verse 14 is considered the most significant.
To many academics, Chapter 14 is the most significant.
That could be because it’s the only verse that attempts to describe the essence of the Tao directly. It attempts to create a template for how we can experience living in union with spirit.
In Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life, Dr. Wayne Dyer says:
“Tapping into this invisible, untouchable, immeasurable force will enable you to gain the harmony that comes with being connected to the oneness, and harmony is your ultimate objective in deciding to live an “in-Spirited” life.”
It’s impossible to put into words, but let’s try.
Tao Te Ching Verse 14 teaches: It’s called invisible.
In chapter 14, Lao Tzu opens our eyes to the energy beyond the physical. We can move beyond our senses and connect intuitively with the source of all.
“We came whirling out of nothingness, scattering stars like dust… The stars made a circle, and in the middle, we dance.” – Rumi.
Everything we see around us is constantly changing form. We perceive it as it is here right now. But there is a constant flow of energy moving through and around us at all times.
We can walk through a garden and, in our mind, see stills of flowers – almost like snapshots or moments in time.
Or, when seeing through the eyes of the Tao, we can see the aliveness of the garden. We can feel a vibrancy in the air. And we can sense the movement of energy at work everywhere we turn.
I remember one summer weekend a few years ago. My parents visited us at our home in Cohasset. We’d just completed a big landscaping project, and I was excited to show them the new garden.
I asked my mom, “What do you think?”
I expected her to say, “I love the color of the roses.” Or, “I love how you decided to layer hydrangea bushes.”
Instead, she said, “It’s so alive! Everywhere I look, I see and feel the energy moving.”
My mom is a deeply spiritually connected woman, although she wouldn’t describe herself this way. Her response made me think of Verse 14.
Tao Te Ching Verse 14 teaches: It’s called elusive.
“When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.” – Rumi.
We can’t box in our experience and explain it briefly.
When I think of an indescribable feeling, I think of childbirth. It’s impossible to describe because by using words, we’re attempting to narrow down the infinite depths of the ocean to a small puddle in our yard.
It’s a paradox because it’s ever-present. Yet we can’t begin to describe our experience adequately.
We understand that this all-encompassing power exists just beyond words and description. We must hone in another way to begin to experience our oneness with this inexhaustible source of all.
Tao Te Ching Verse 14 teaches that intuition is our guide.
In the above interpretation, Dr. Wayne Dyer says, “By intuition, you can see it, hear it, and feel it. Then the unseen, unheard, and untouched are present as one.”
1. A natural ability or power that makes it possible to know something without any proof or evidence : a feeling that guides a person to act a certain way without fully understanding why.
- Intuition was telling her that something was very wrong.
- “How did you know I would drop by?” “Oh, I don’t know. It must have been intuition.”
- I trusted my intuition [=instincts] and ended the relationship.
2. Something that is known or understood without proof or evidence.
We need to work with an ability that extends beyond our five senses. We know things – because we have an inner guidance system that alerts us. Dr. Wayne Dyer says this provides the only open doorway to understanding the Tao.
This reminds me of times when I just “knew” something immediately. You know that feeling when you meet someone and know that this person will become an important part of your life? That’s how I feel about it. It’s a knowing.
As a new student of the Tao, I recognize that I won’t be able to experience its vastness through my five senses. I must use another brain – so to speak. I need to seek connection to the Tao through my intuition.
Living in harmony is most important.
“The nameless Source that has always been gives only the peace and harmony you desire, so recognize this infinite oneness and keep it in your awareness.” – Dr. Wayne Dyer.
We can experience peace and harmony through our connection to Source.
I think harmony is a big word because in choosing it, we willingly lay aside our personal goals and instead align with the greater picture.
This invokes an element of surrender and, ultimately, ease. We let go and move forward in alignment with the vast intelligence around us.
In doing so, we recognize our part in the larger picture. And we can allow this ever-abundant Source to take the lead.
For another perspective, check out Stephen Mitchell’s words:
Stephen Mitchell’s Interpretation of the Tao Te Ching Verse 14:
“Look, and it can’t be seen.
Listen, and it can’t be heard.
Reach, and it can’t be grasped.
Above, it isn’t bright.
Below, it isn’t dark.
it returns to the realm of nothing.
Form that includes all forms,
image without an image,
subtle, beyond all conception.
Approach it and there is no beginning;
follow it and there is no end.
You can’t know it, but you can be it,
at ease in your own life.
Just realize where you come from:
this is the essence of wisdom. ”
So, how can we practice the teaching of the Tao Te Ching Verse 14?
Here are some ideas I’ve considered while studying this verse.
- Stop to observe the miraculousness all around you. When you look at a flowering tree, think of its changing form throughout the four seasons. How can this be possible? What source is creating this?
- Witness the peaceful quiet of an early sunrise. Feel the strength and peace it inspires.
- Observe the harmony that lies just underneath the surface. Witness when you’ve let go of an ego/ selfish objective only to discover a more peaceful solution lying just underneath.
- See the many new beginnings and endings happening in every moment. There is a continuous stream of life happening all around you.
- Dance in the freedom and bliss of knowing you are connected to something so much greater than you can comprehend. Feel peace and harmony in your soul.
- Think of the words ‘peace’ and ‘harmony’ often. Use them in daily life. Find moments of peace throughout the day. Witness harmony. Acknowledge it daily.
“Make peace with the universe. Take joy in it. It will turn to gold. Resurrection will be now. Every moment, a new beauty.” – Rumi
So, what do you think? Do you know someone who might benefit from the messages contained in this verse? Send it to them today!
Interested in reading more?
Learn about Verse Five: Give kind energy equally to all.
Or learn about Verse Four: Infinite possibilities.