Originally Posted by ketzer
The first time I read the book I liked it even though I had no idea what the heck it was talking about. Over time, you start to feel like you get some of it but other parts remain a mystery.
That was my experience as well, and I think most people have the same thing.
I think I would rather keep those other parts blurry and mysterious rather than have someone else come in and tell me what that cloud up there looks like. Once someone says it is a elephant up there, the mind will start to spend its time trying to make out the elephant in the clouds, when in fact, there is no elephant. The elephant was in their mind, not in the clouds.
With experience you begin to see more and more. I started in tai chi before becoming interested in Taoism. The way tai chi embodies Taoist principles in a way it is learning via body, what the book is saying to people's minds. It helps with seeing some parts of it.
Even more important to know is that Lao Tzu was a Nei Kung master, and the more advanced I became in Nei Kung, the more things I recognized that the book was referring to. They are called 'sign posts along the Way', and, just like driving, you don't see the signs until you drive by them. A lot of what is in the book can be looked at in terms of spiritual development that comes from cultivating in the Taoist internal arts. For example, when the book mentions government or emperor he is talking about a persons brain or mind, and the people are the body. In this way you can see that he is talking about aspects and benefits of meditation. The book also explains some of the very high level abilities that a sage develops as a result of nei kung. Some chapters talk about the physical and mental attributes of an immortal, for example.
There's another Chapter that says something along the lines of "the sage can sit in his room and know what is going on in the world". To people with low awareness this would seem a mystery, while those with more awareness will say it means that since the sage knows the ways of man so well that he knows what people will always be like. In fact it is referring to the super psychic abilities that a master can develop. I learned this when I found out that my teacher was so psychic that he knew everything I was thinking while I was with him at his house, and he knew what I was thinking and doing while I was at my house. I leanred that he was so highly psychic that he was functionally omniscient. So this then is the highest level meaning of "the sage can sit in his room and know what is going on in the world".
That's one example.