The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao The name that can be named is not the eternal Name. The unnameable 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.
Most every person contemplates regarding the unknown. Many people are conditioned to believe in a certain “personal” deity as a viable explanation for it all. The Tao is not so. The Tao is a process, not so much a personality. The process encompasses all that is and ever was or ever will be. Hence, the process is eternal.
Attaching a personality to the process creates confusion. Many people believe in a god created after the image of human manifestation. Hence, some ancients attributed a powerful masculine gender to their god, one who dominates, controls, and defeats. Others believe in a god of the feminine gender, one who is the maternal source of life. Such ideals are theories based upon that which is manifest already, in other words the traditional views of male and female humans. Theories arise from assuming attributes based upon that which is manifest, yet no such revelation has actually been manifested. The unknown is a mystery, hence it is the unknown.
This is not to say that there is not a source to all that is. This is to say that such is unknown. Veiled in darkness if you will.
Acknowledging the veiled nature of the unknown is a step towards understanding. Better yet, acknowledging the veiled nature of the unknown is understanding in and of itself.
Perhaps we know all that we will ever know. No matter, for we are a part of the process of existence. Perhaps the gateway is acknowledgement that the unknown is the unknown, and acceptance that what is.. merely is.
These are my thoughts on Tao Te Ching 1.