Tao is strangely colorless,
The old books describe Tao as strangely colorless. What do they mean by that? Where gods appear in flashes of blinding light, where hell yawns open with flame and sparks, how is it that Tao, supreme above all, is strangely colorless?
The description of colorless is a reference to the fact that Tao is beyond all descriptions. When you experience Tao, you will recognize that you are in the grip of something so right. But it will be impossible to conceptualize it or reproduce it. In fact, the more that you try to pin Tao down, the more elusive it becomes. It is a paradox that something colorless can be so intense, gripping, and unforgettable.
Have you ever played a competitive sport, say, like football? Have you ever felt that sweet spot, when everything went right almost without your trying? Wen you were in tithe grip of that momentum, did you say to yourself, “Don’t do anything to break this. Don’t say anything, don’t ruin it”? That feeling is a little of what being with Tao is like. If you tried to reproduce it later in another game, you couldn’t. If you tried to “master” it, take credit for it, explain what happened, you couldn’t. Later in private when you reflected back, you would realize that they experience that you felt was strong enough to move others, to sweep all before it, to hold you in intensity. What you felt was Tao.
Deng Ming-Dao (author)
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