What is the Tao?

For a person, especially a businessperson who describes his or herself as “spiritual but not religious” there is no better source for non-ritualized spiritual exploration than the teachings of the Taoist Sages, particularly Lao Tsu and Chuang Tsu.

The literal English translation of the Chinese word Tao is “way, or path”.  This definition of Tao may be extended to mean “method” or “principle” – thus the popularity of various philosophies and popular culture tracts that use the term Tao in their titles or descriptions.  In the Chinese language the same written character can mean “being” as well as the embodiment of what one desires or what a person truly needs.

We were recently offering a seminar on stress management at the Catskills Bed and Breakfast  – http://www.TheCatskillsbedandBreakfast.com – in Stamford NY. During the breakout sessions we offered stress management seminars that including creative visualization, spirituality in business and onsite chair massage. We spoke about Sun Tzu, Machiavelli and the great Lao Tzu

To Lao Tzu, the great Taoist Sage “The Way” is not merely a, path, lifestyle, style of thinking, method or principle.  As with Zen teachings which developed after Taoism, the Tao is something of much greater subtlety. The Tao can best be described as elusive, intangible, and mysterious.  It is transcendental, infinite, and eternal, preceding even the birth of the universe.

Though the centuries thousands of commentaries and philosophical tracts have been written about Taoism, and many religious groups as well as rites, rituals and ceremonies have formed around the teachings. Over time the pure Taoist teachings were misunderstood and were incorrectly reshaped and interpreted by many religious and spiritually based schools.

Fundamentally the teachings are best represented by the writings Lao Tsu and Chuang Tsu.

As in Zen some chapters of the Chuang Tsu are overtly paradoxical while others are subtle, though consistent in thought.  At the foundation of both Lao Tsu’s and Chuang Tsu’s writings is the idea that all that exists, flows on a path of eternal cycles. That all that “is” moves in one direction and when it reaches the peak of movement in that direction, like a pendulum reverts to its opposite, moving back to where it originated.

What exactly defines the Tao, is that it is the only true form of reality. Yet it can only be known through non-traditional forms of inquiry.  It is action-less and formless.  It can be transmitted, but cannot be received. It may be known, but cannot be seen, heard, touched, smelled or tasted.  It is self created, and rooted in itself. To know Tao is to have Wisdom.


Click below to observe a nine minute video interview Lewis  did with the Award winning journalist Phyllis Haynes on why  people suffer:




Lewis Harrison is the author of sixteen books including

“Spiritual, Not Religious: Sacred Tools for Modern Times” a book of  concerned with personal development, human potential, stress reduction and business excellence.



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You can reach him at LewisCoaches@gmail.com


He offers stress management programs throughout the United  States. Part of this company is  his corporate chair massage company, eventschairmassage.com provides seated and chair massage for stress management seminars and trainings as well to special events for  meeting planners and meeting professionals in New York City, New Jersey Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Cleveland, Greensboro NC, Florida and other major meeting and conventions venues.



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Lewis Harrison speaks to organizations and businesses of all types and offers seminars throughout the world on his work on the art and science of decision making through spiritually motivated  “Game Based Thinking”


He also offers private fee based coaching programs. 

Call him at 212-724-8782 for more information.




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