Image result for avatar forest

Teh - Natural integrity, one's authentic inner power

Also called Te or De

The middle word of the name of Lao Tzu's classic 6th century BC book - Tao Te Ching or Dao De Jing


Tao means ''way'' and Teh or Te is the embodiment of that way, also known as virtue or empowerment.

Virtue in this case does not equate with goodness or morals and empowerment has nothing to do with force. Teh is that which naturally and simply nurtures the Tao, in the world of things.

The Way will give them life
And de will nurture them ~ Lao Tzu

De is the creative power of the Dao (the natural Way), which engenders, nurtures, and perfects the world ~ Britannica encyclopedia


Jane Austen, the famous author, recoiled in regret after she read the first reviews of her work. Oh no, she said (or something to that effect), now I will become self conscious! How will I be myself and tell the truth!

This response is very authentic (I find) and reveals something of our own (possible) struggles to be spontaneously true to our selves.


We are all self-conscious. We have all ''tested and tasted too much'', it is the nature of the grubby, sophisticated times we live in. From our inception we have been conditioned for individualism, ambition, aquisitive cleverness. We have a strange sort of self awareness that shows up in our susceptibility to the almost unceasing war in the space between our ears.

These are not innocent times and we are not generally innocent people. We wish we were. Our consciousness is a burden. A brief spell perhaps in childhood, of unsuspecting wonder and awe, another spell when we fall helplessly in love, a time when we are lucky and forget ourselves, before we start in again on the calculations and machinations - however subtle -  that are characteristic of our age. 


We are sometimes good, we think, sometimes virtuous. We notice when we have been patient or self-sacrificing to some degree and we feel self-conscious. We maybe even tally the balance sheets. We speak of noble deeds sometimes, tell others humbly about our goodness, how we demonstrated humanity. We speak, if not out loud, then at least to ourselves, inwardly affirming that we are after all demonstrably not monsters.


And this echoes hollowly inside us, makes us feel, at root, a bit like frauds and phonies. All this subtle calculation. This damn self-awareness that plagues us and empties out every good thing of its unknowing spontaneity.

We might sometimes wonder where is our natural artless self? Where is our Teh?

Image result

Here is a metaphor from nature.


On the surface level we are farmers, often cultivating, calculating; we are the products of our mortal genetics and we know the amounts of seed that produce a certain amount of harvest. Evolutionarily, we are acutely aware of the cost-benefit analysis of all our actions. We are proud of our ploughed fields, privately guilty about our wastelands. In this sense we are artificial, our activities are complex and shrewd. We have to survive!

Oh but! This farming work is beyond exhausting.


Let us abandon our scheming and plots. Let us sink deeper into our uncultivated selves.

On this truest level we are naked, without our inner and outer machinery, all our devices are dropped.

We are at play in a primeval forest. The old-growth woods here, where we live, are primordially existing, eternal and luminous. They are deeply rooted, innocent and untouched by human design.

Magical forms spontaneously and constantly erupt. There is incessant movement in what appears at first glance to be still.

All is Ever-Vibrating and Infinitely Arising within us. 


Here - unblemished - resides our natural Teh. Our pristine, unschooled virtue. We do not have to cultivate it. It is naturally born. This Teh instinctively reaches out to help any fallen bird.  This Teh spontaneously embodies our Way.

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. ~ Matthew 6


This Teh is Self-Originating, Self-Organising, Effortless, Innocent, and Playful. It requires no thought. It exists within us always.

And we faultlessly dwell within it.

Forest Whale

(My personal interpretation of Teh. Not posted as ''fact''.)

You need to be a member of somathread to add comments!

Join somathread

Email me when people reply –


  • if you farm you are a farmer ....if you teach you are a teacher  so if  you flow .....you are a flower :)


    • I like it too. A flow-er :-).

      Coincidentally there is a quote of Ralph Waldo Emerson (linking to Noct's quote) where he says ''The Earth smiles in Flowers''. Cool.

This reply was deleted.