The Tao is all things.
The Tao is the underlying fabric from which all things are created.
Matter as we know it. Time. The rules of our physical universe. These are all constructed from the Tao.
The Tao though is not a blind substance. It is not a simple particle from which things are constructed like Lego blocks.
The Tao has awareness. In fact, our human awareness is constructed from its awareness. The Tao is the sum of all awareness, but is much greater than the sum, since it is also the origin.
Why is the Nature of the Tao Important to You?
Since you are made from the Tao, you are the Tao. You are simply a smaller portion of it.
All things around you are made from the Tao. We are all Tao. For that reason, all things are equal in the Tao. Nothing is favored above another thing because we are constructed from the Tao.
Now, this truth often leads to confusion, and I work on dispelling this confusion in the Taoist newsletter.
Equal is not the same. Two cookies cut from the same cookie dough can be entirely different. One cookie could be 1 inch in size and shaped like a ballerina. Another could be 1 foot in size and shaped like a bulldozer.
These are not the same cookie and each cookie would appeal to different people.
Knowing Tao Solves the Problem of Creation
Each thing within the Tao is a small gathering of the fabric of the Tao.
Think of the Tao as like a giant table cloth. If you were to reach out and grab a handful of the table cloth and form a little bulb of cloth with it, that would be you. You are not disconnected from the table cloth.
You are an interesting shape. You are different than other shapes. Maybe a lot. Maybe a little.
The fingers that gather you into a shape is the force of time.
The Tao Answers the Question of Death
When you or a loved one passes, the effect of the fingers of time releases. That bulb, that wrinkle, is smoothed back into the great table cloth of the Tao.
Why is the Tao the Way?
The Tao is often referred to as the path or the way. When used in this context, it refers to a manner of proper living that leads you to understand, experience, and use the connection between the bundled up table cloth that is you and the rest of the table cloth.
Ultimately, this removes the power of fear in your life and leads you to greater happiness.
A Taoist is a person working with that connection.