The Tao we can speak of is not actually the Tao, it is a concept and therefore we should begin by examining it’s aspects. Chiefly we must look at silence, as it is a constant that pervades all and is immutable by it’s very nature. We can make sounds, but after the sound has dissipated we discover silence is still there.

Silence is a constant as is emptiness, both are useful in describing the nature of the formless, and both allow us to imagine or even witness a rise given to sound or to form. In the mind we can imagine speech, but it has no true sound, only an imagined reconstruction of sound unless of until we emulate the sound. Much as seeing a mental picture is only the beginning of creating a form, it has no real substance.

A pebble crashes into the still surface of a lake and we suddenly have bumper sticker statements about ripples, but that gets us no closer to the truth of anything. The 70’s in a nutshell.

To begin to grasp the importance of this we may omit the senses entirely except perhaps for feeling. If you could not see, or hear, or taste, you could be easily convinced that whatever found it’s way into your hand was largely the reality that exists. For you this is truth, it doesn’t matter who disagrees as you can neither hear it nor argue in this scenario. You might recall the feeling of something and wonder at the significance of it for a while. You might then be presented another object, then another, until your mind reeled at the significance of experiencing objects altogether. Someone handing you objects could be easily mistaken for the God of your experience but in truth you are the perceiver and your attention is the truth.

The problem inherent in this is that our minds do precisely as I’m describing with all of the phenomena we experience, be it the sounds or smells or visual phenomena. We can easily ascribe meaning to any or all of it as I will demonstrate in a moment. It might be 3:00AM and suddenly a loud bang is heard, it sounds very much like a gunshot. It sounds like it came from the next room. Your mind fills with horrifying possibilities and your flooded with concerns and fears. Of course It may be nothing, but that idea escapes you entirely. A week later you have forgotten this experience largely and are at a firing range, you hear hundreds or thousands of gunshots but your mind can dismiss the relevance as you understand clearly what is happening.

Context, you see is everything. We ascribe the context of a situation based on our beliefs which are largely dictated by confirmation biases and laziness. This isn’t necessarily bad, but it is why so many people disagree about everything so violently. Everyone is correct from their perspective, because that is the nature of perspectives. A religion on one continent or another often fills in the think for yourself gaps, so that by conditioning you don’t really have to think beyond what was written in a book a very long time ago by people who would run away from a modern microwave. Every religion does this, and people make excuses to go along with that thinking no matter the personal consequences.

It isn’t about religion being good, bad or indifferent though, not really. It’s about the mind wanting to be at rest, unless some stimuli compels us towards an experience. We may justify a thing knowing it is wrong, or label a thing to not have to revisit it mentally. It is our desire for rest, when no gains are perceived in the pursuit of an understanding.

This is why we understand the importance of the nature of silence or emptiness, and promptly suggest that it may be a framework upon which reality itself is hanging. A great 3D hologram made up of plank length pixels that we simply move through as a concept of self, exploring the concepts of everything else. It makes little sense to explore the nature of emptiness except as it relates to form, and what is form without a function?

We may only be perceiving the world as light or dark because our tiny monkey brains evolved to make use of whatever radiant energy was at hand, rather than fumbling in total darkness. It may all be illusions like a holodeck, but from within the construct you are helpless to perceive it’s origin.

But then there is silence.

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