Understanding Taoism

Taoism views everyone as a Taoist, each person has their own "way", each person has a personal choice on how to live life. Taoism as a practice falls into several categories (I am just using western terms now to keep things simple): just living; actively seeking; letting go; transformation. Most people fall into the just living category and at each "level" Taoist practice offers different advice to movement of life. The advice and the teachings in Taoism will always be relative to where you are in life. So a person who is just living often leaves things alone (to be as is) while a person seeking often stirs things up to find answers. As a teacher I am careful when answering questions for this reason and vary my answers to each person to best fit to where they are. So when reading answers in my blog, my site, or in books like the Tao Te Ching, know the answers received are not static. That as you look at the materials you will see answers and ideas shift as you explore life. Westerners want defined answers which are true at all angles: a Taoist instead views answers as shifting depending on the angle of life.

Now this is important for many reasons, however here is one consideration right now. Often times when stuck trying to understand a Taoist answer or writing. Look at it not in terms of the answer you think it contains, instead look at the statement in terms of release. An important Taoist key in translating various Taoist texts: Taoism is "rarely" ever about destination, so conversely never about direct answers. Taoism is about the way, a path, a journey itself. So most passages are the key, not to answers, but rather towards some form of release of assumptions, expectation, ego, etc, anything that holds a person down. A key is about opening possibilities and not about what is actually in the locked box that the key opens. This means when stuck a person is often looking at the Taoist passage or answer in older personal terms which they need to release in their life to move on. So when stuck, always look the element of release over a solid answer which helps you move on in your life.