Since much of this is derived from the Tao de Ching, let's get on the same page about this ancient and profound writing ...
First, Tao is pronounced "Dow" (yeah, like Dow-Jones) ... so don't make yourself appear to be all ignorant, and stick a "T" in there. And don't ask me why the English translators didn't just spell it "Dow" or even "Dao." I know not these things. It's a cosmic mystery, like why we have an appendix, or why we park on a driveway, and drive on a parkway ...
The Tao de Ching (loose translation: The Book of the Way) was written in about 500 BC, in China ... by Lao Tzu (which just means "old man" ... so whether there was a real dude named "Old Man" by his parents, or whether it's a compilation by several old dudes, or whether it's merely metaphorical, nobody knows -- add it to the aforementioned mysteries, shrug, and move on).
The Tao is not a religion -- it's a spiritual/philosophical idea -- rather than delivering dogma, rules, regulations (envision me spitting out dog-germs), it offers suggestions for a more enlightened and fulfilling life. To give you a bit of it's flavor, here are the opening lines (& here's the rest, for those who want to dive in):
The tao that can be told
is not the eternal Tao
The name that can be named
is not the eternal Name.
The unnamable is the eternally real.
Naming is the origin
of all particular things.
Free from desire, you realize the mystery.
Caught in desire, you see only the manifestations.
Yet mystery and manifestations
arise from the same source.
This source is called darkness.
Darkness within darkness.
The gateway to all understanding.
According to an unnamed, yet venerated, teacher of Stuart Wilde's (whom he refers to as "Boogaloo" - ha!), one cannot really comprehend the Tao, or the Infinite Self intellectually -- it's beyond the mind. The only way to comprehend it is through "heightened awareness and feeling."
Not the mind, but the heart. Not the intelligence, but intuition. There it is again.
Here's how Stu puts it (if he can call his venerated teacher "Boogaloo", I can call him "Stu"):
To really comprehend it, as well as the angelic nature of your journey, you first have to release from the ego's somewhat tight, limited perception and accept your true spiritual power. When you are ready to release and detach and let go, you gain everything.
(I find myself hearing the deeper-and-truer-for-me meaning of the words, "seek first the Kingdom, and all other things will be given to you.")
Pausing. Breathing. Pondering. Digesting. On a whole new level.
Pain does that, y'know ... it gets your attention and increases your capacity to receive ... it's a catalyst for growth (& really, who would bother to grow/change unless something hurt?), out of the sheer desperation for relief ... so here I am, brought to a place of recognizing my absolute need for reception of that which is deeper ...
Spiritual growth is neither convenient, nor comfortable. It's neither fun, nor easy to discard most (often all) of one's previously-conditioned-and-clung-to beliefs and - we tend to hold such things as "sacred" -- and we will defend them to the nth degree -- attacking/maligning/rejecting anyone who threatens them (which can be done merely from the suggestion to *look* at them). We will thus ally with our own enslavement to what limits us -- those false core beliefs. But we cannot get to the Infinite Self without returning back to those old roots -- those memories and experiences (remembered or not, in which we formed those limiting beliefs) that continue to limit and condition us into Who We Are NOT.
Looking deeply at ourselves is uncomfortable -- no, make that painful. Even terrifying. Most of us will go to inordinate lengths to ensure that we never do so. Most of us would rather limp through life, coping with what is crippling (but oh-so-familiar), than to do the courageous and challenging and liberating work of self-examination. And it's not a one-time endeavor, either. It's a way of life.
Here's how Stu puts it:
It's difficult to learn to control the ego and discipline the mind without it reacting. However, it's a vital part of the journey, and you have to raise your energy gradually, over a period of time ... energy seeks its own level. Even though something or someone can inspire you or teach you, in the end the only way you will sustain a higher energy is to create it for yourself.
In the laws of physics, a subatomic particle can borrow energy for a millisecond, moving to a faster orbit around a nucleus. However, the particle can't keep that borrowed energy indefinitely. So whatever energy is borrowed in this second has to be paid back a second later, and the particle returns to where it is comfortable, at the energy level it had before.
Spiritual growth follows the same rules. You can be inspired by a hymn, by a fantastic sermon, words out of a book; but you can only borrow that inspiration. In the end, raising your energy involves discipline, which means working on yourself. There is no particular time when you can say, "I've done it, I've finished." Embracing the Infinite Self is a perpetual process, unfolding within you forever and ever.
As a man thinks in his heart, so is he ...
Whatsoever you sow, you shall reap ...
Take every thought captive ...
Yeah ... examining our feelings, our thoughts ... tracing them back to their origins ... discovering whether that is our own belief, or that of another ... choosing how to then create our own reality ... yeah, that takes some intentionality ... some discipline ... some conscious participation.
I see that I am responsible for my life ... I chose it, I'm living it, and I'm co-creating it. It's happening, whether I realize it or not ... may as well get conscious about it!
I'd like to get out of my own way, to discover my Infinite Self, and to live from there.
I have to ... the alternative is unacceptable.
Shalom & Namaste ~