Eleventh Chapter: Tao Te Ching | Madhu Bazaz Wangu
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Eleventh Chapter: Tao Te Ching

Eleventh Chapter: Tao Te Ching

Chapter Eleven:
Tao Te Ching

Thirty spokes converge around one hub,
But it is on the hole in the center that the utility of the carriage depends.

Clay is molded to form a vessel,
But it is in its hollowness that the utility of the vessel depends.

Doors and windows are cut out to make a room,
But it is in its emptiness that the utility of the room depends.

The usefulness of being depends upon its non-being.

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As I understand it:

The value of a hole, hollowness or emptiness goes unnoticed.

The invisible life force eludes our senses.
But without silent pauses there is no language, no music.

Our bodies function with senses, feelings and locomotion
but it is in the invisible essence, the Tao within us, that the utility of our lives depends.

Let’s allow the essence of our emptiness; our non-being spread into our being.
Let’s allow our thoughts and feelings to enter our being but at the same time be attentive to our non-being.

Meditation helps us connect with our inner emptiness. From that emptiness the thoughts flow outward. Sages function solely from this emptiness. In the silence of meditation our essence, the empty space, reveals itself.

This empty space is the core of our physical being – the most useful vessel.
It too goes unnoticed.

Recently, I saw an exhibition, “Bodies” at the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh.
At display were real human bodies — meticulously dissected and preserved. I looked at the skeletal, muscular, nervous, digestive, respiratory, and circulatory systems. As I marveled at the intricacies and complexities of our body’s systems and their parts – skin, bones, organs, blood — I asked myself, where is the real person?

The reality (essence) of what was,
was in what was not.

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Suggested Readings:
Lao Tzu, The Way of Lao Tzu, tr. Wing-Tsit Chan, The Bobbs-Merrill Company, Inc. 1963.
Dyer, Wayne W., Change Your Thoughts – Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of Tao. Hay House, Inc. 2007.

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