The Way

A while back I purchased Wayne Dyer’s, “Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life.” It’s only the second or third audio book I’ve ever purchased. I’ve really enjoyed listening to it when I’m out driving around. I listen to very little radio and very little television. I even read very little news on the Internet with the exception of Linux, open source, and technology blogs. I’ve found through this experience that I’ve become even more contemplative and I hope more peaceful. Last week I started re-reading the Te of Piglet which has been quite interesting to read again a book I first read four or five years ago. I know that Dr. Dyer’s book which is based on the Tao te Ching has really caused me to do this.

A couple of weeks ago I visited Abbey of the Genesee and while there I picked up Thomas Merton’s, “The Way of Chuang-Tzu“. I found it interesting that Merton’s interest in the Tao was much like mine. I have found many parallels in the Gospels with the Tao te Ching. My reading and listening has invited me to be more contemplative and more sensitive to my surroundings.

Literally interpreted the Tao is “the way” and that same phrase was one of the early descriptions of Christianity.

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.–Tao te Ching,Chapter 1

6 Replies to “The Way”

  1. It is nice to see that you are gaing spritual insights from reading about non-western religions,
    but, “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.” is not a thought that is compatible with Christianity. What is revolutionary about Christianity is that God has a Name, God has a Face, and that God came and lived among us as a man at a particular time and at a particular place and that He sufferred a particular sacrifice. Jesus is not the unamed and the unknowable and the ineffeble. He is Love, and He is our brother and our friend. Further, he is not darkness within darkness, He is the Light that shines in the darkness and the darkness shall not overcome it.

    Love has a name.

  2. Thanks. I looked at the first one and intend to look at the rest. I spent a day on retreat this week with some friars who are strongly influenced by Merton’s work. As you know Thomas Merton taught at St. Bonaventure University near Olean, New York just prior to entering Gethsemani. The ministry center on campus at St. Bonaventure is called “The Merton Center,” as his legacy lives on. A small clearing visible on one of the mountainsides near the campus is called “Merton’s Heart.” Peace. 🙂

  3. I firmly believe that the contemplative/mystical tradition of the Christian faith is of great spiritual relevance in this day and time. It can, if followed with a genuine commitment, lead one to a place of centered awareness of God in even mundane aspects of our daily lives. As Teillard de Chardin (sp?) so aptly put it:

    “Nothing is profane for those who have eyes to see.”

    As for God having a name, perhaps he does and doesn’t at the same time. I know contemplative authors such as Meister Eckardt, John Tauler, Walter Hilton, and the author of the Cloud of Unknowing all alluded to the fact that the only way they discovered the true God was to forget the conceptual God …..including the names and attributes.

    I live, worked, and studied in China for five years and met many Christians and Chan Buddhists over there. Most of the Christians are evangelical, but not all of them. Some are quite mystical in their approach to the faith. It is also interesting to note that in the standard Chinese translation of the Bible, the Prologue of the Gospel of John, in English, begins:

    “In the beginning was the Dao, and the Dao was with God and was God.”

    As Mr. Spock would say, “Fascinating.”

Comments are closed.