In my most favourite book, the Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu speaks with a unique precision about Virtue. He is precise while being esoteric; hence the book's timeless allure, and its sense of mystery. This is also why Lao Tzu remains what I call a 'true teacher,' in that he gives you a definite invitation toward something he has learned - without spelling it out for you. In the Taoist tradition, he is called an "immortal" by this, his effective teaching, and the universal depth he offers.
Reading the Tao Te Ching you indeed gain a sense of Lao Tzu being a kind and gentle companion. His words - without an ounce of force - truly inhabit you. His wonder, his inner peace, his clarity, his humour.... these things are passed onto you through this idea he wraps up into the word Virtue. It becomes a jam packed word - radiant - and countless people like myself move through their lives with a sense of certainty and gratitude for him having (eventually) shared his knowing.
Taoism is understood through the observing of Yin & Yang. And the I-Ching is the Tao symbol described in complete detail. If you think of this symbol as a mask, and pull off the mask, behind it are sixty-four symbols, called Hexagrams, which depict the very fine balancing of Yin & Yang: Yang the solid line and Yin the 'broken' - like two dashes.
In my Book of Gardens: A Lover's Manual for Planet Earth, I have gone through the lessons of meditation from each line of the I-Ching, condensing my study into sixty-four six-line poems: "The Gardens." At the end of these poems is a long poem, "The Shorelines of Johnson's Landing" which reflects back the totality of this study, and what a more mindful life feels like and what it may look like, encouraging a grace and acceptance of our ecological and spiritual limits. The book also contains sections on how to use the I-Ching toward your own life decisions, whilst holding in the backdrop the meta-goal of a complete sense of self-acceptance and awareness of Tao. I include a brief non-denominational meditation instruction, and two longer essays on where all of this can be readily applied today: an essay on growth-only economics, and where we need head as a species, toward an appreciation of our one world, our Earth. I call this Eco-Theology, the Practical Value of Wonder.
Best to You - Phil