There is a thread running from the beginning of time through the present and forward to the end. Yet it has no beginning and no end. It is known by all, but forgotten by most. Remembrance occurs in a flash and requires no special skill or knowledge. It is both change and changeless. It is here and not here. Know the ancient beginning, but live it now. Tao is but a word that suggests the essence. Truth can only be experienced firsthand.
Look, it cannot be seen—it is beyond form.
Listen, it cannot be heard—it is beyond sound.
Grasp, it cannot be held—it is intangible.
These three are indeﬁnable;
Therefore they are joined in one.
From above it is not bright;
From below it is not dark:
An unbroken thread beyond description.
It returns to nothingness.
The form of the formless,
The image of the imageless,
It is called indeﬁnable and beyond imagination.
Stand before it and there is no beginning.
Follow it and there is no end.
Stay with the ancient Tao,
Move with the present.
Knowing the ancient beginning is the essence of Tao.
Lao Tsu: Tao Te Ching translation by Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English.