In East Asian religious and philosophical traditions, Tao means “the Way,” and represents the underlying order of the universe. To live life wisely and well, one must live in accordance with its unnamed but discernible principles and patterns. The Way is Truth, the Absolute, as well as the path to Truth.
The concept of the Way is not unique to these traditions.
The aim of Stoicism is to harmonize one’s will with Nature.
The earliest disciples of Jesus called themselves not Christians, but “followers of the Way.”
Since time immemorial, all humans have, if often unknowingly, been trying to navigate the immutable laws which frame existence. But how are they found?
Some will say to look to scripture for instruction. But that only throws one back on the question of which sacred writings to trust.
To discover the Way, experiential search is antecedent to an appeal to authority.
The Order of the universe dictates that all actions have unavoidable reactions. Whether you violate the Way, or uphold it, consequences follow.
Some actions bring joy, light, clarity; others emptiness, darkness, shame.
There are things you do that, no matter how loudly and vehemently you defend and rationalize as healthy, nonetheless erode your relationships, cloud your vision, retard your progress. There are things you do that everyone else seemingly does too, and affirms as perfectly acceptable, which yet, in quiet moments alone, still make you hate yourself.
Then there are things which none of your friends or family members embody or celebrate, which no advertisements or media outlets pitch, which make you feel honorable, luminous, oriented in the right direction.
A compass, a powerful magnet that attracts and repels, resides within your heart of hearts.
Through stillness, humility, a commitment to crowd-silencing self-reliance, attune yourself to its bearings. They will, most assuredly, show you the Way.