1 The tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao. You can't express reality in words. You limit it that way. You squeeze it into nouns and verbs and adjectives, and the instant-by-instant Xow is cut oV. The tao that can be told isn't the eternal Tao, because trying to tell it brings it into time. It's stopped in time by the very attempt to name it. Once anything is named, it's no longer eternal. "Eternal" means free, without limit, without a position in time or space, lived without obstacle. There's no name for what's sitting in this chair right now. I am the experience of the eternal. Even with the thought "God," it all stops and manifests in time, and as I create "God," I have created "not-God." You can substitute anything here--with the thought "tree," I create "tree" and "not-tree"; the mechanism is the same. Before you name anything, the world has no things in it, no meaning. There's nothing but peace in a wordless, questionless world. It's the space where everything is already answered, in joyful silence. In this world before words, there is only the real--undivided, ungraspable, already present. Any apparently separate thing can't be real, since the mind has created it with its names. When we understand this, the unreal becomes beautiful, because there's nothing that can threaten the real. I don't ever see anything separate called "tree" or "you" or "I." These things are only imagination, believed or unbelieved. Naming is the origin of all the particular things that make up the world of illusion, the dream world. To break oV part of the everything and name it "tree" is the Wrst dream. I call it "Wrst-generation thinking." Then thought begets thought, and we have "tall tree, beautiful tree, tree that I want to sit under, tree that would make good furniture, tree that I need to save," and the dream goes on and on. It takes a child just a moment to fall into the dream world, the dream of a world, when she Wrst connects word with thing. And it takes you just a moment to question it, to break the spell and be grateful for the Tao of everything--tree, no tree; world, no world. When the mind believes what it thinks, it names what cannot be named and tries to make it real through a name. It believes that its names are real, that there's a world out there separate from itself. That's an illusion. The whole world is projected. When you're shut down and frightened, the world seems hostile; when you love what is, everything in the world becomes the beloved. Inside and outside always match--they're reXections of each other. The world is the mirror image of your mind. Not believing your own thoughts, you're free from the primal desire: the thought that reality should be diVerent than it is. You realize the wordless, the unthinkable. You understand that any mystery is only what you yourself have created. In fact, there's no mystery. Everything is as clear as day. It's simple, because there really isn't anything. There's only the story appearing now. And not even that. In the end, "mystery" is equal to "manifestations." You're just looking from a new perspective. The world is an optical illusion. It's just you, crazed and miserable, or you, delighted and at peace. In the end, "desire" is equal to "free from desire." Desire is a gift; it's about noticing. Everything happens for you, not to you. I have questioned my thoughts, and I've seen that it's crazy to argue with what is. I don't ever want anything to happen except what's happening. For example, my ninety-year-old mother is dying of pancreatic cancer. I'm taking care of her, cooking and cleaning for her, sleeping beside her, living in her apartment twenty-three hours a day (my husband takes me out for a walk every morning). It has been a month nKatie, Byron is the author of 'Thousand Names for Joy A Guide to Living in Harmony With the Way Things Are', published 2007 under ISBN 9780307339232 and ISBN 0307339238.