The Tao is the void, the space that exists between the subatomic structure of our universe. According to the Tao Te Ching this space is the potential for all that exists though in itself it is nothing. Absolutely nothing. This concept, and the scientific inquiry surrounding it, reflects the outer edge of human intellect. Einstein as well as all modern physicists have not been able to define or quantify the void of nothingness.
In the Tao Te Ching the Te is the expression that proceeds from the Tao and expresses itself through all sentient life as virtue. Whenever we are "in accordance with nature" we are expressing this virtue.
The Tao is the all pervading source of the energy that keeps the planets in their orbits, keeps the gases of the sun from dissolving into space, and maintains the integrity of our own physical form. The Tao exists in the space between the atomic structure of all material and sentient forms and is the ultimate source of all that exists. The Tao itself is the empty space, the nothingness of nonexistence or preexistence. The Tao permeates everything, surrounding everything. The Tao is from where everything proceeds and to where everything returns.
Section 4 of the Tao Te Ching:
Tao is space
It is the luminosity of the universe
In its depth and stillness
It is infinite and eternal
Where did it come from?
It was here before creation
The Tao is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent in its simplicity and as its nature of the source of all that exists. The perception of the Tao is essential to present moment awareness, unconditional love and compassion, and a life of virtuous expression.
The Tao cannot be described or "named", as soon as it is named it is not the Tao. This accounts for the untold number of books relating to spirituality. Each one misses the essential truth and encourages just one more book to be written. According to most translations, however, the Tao is "...both named and nameless, as nameless it is the origin of all, as named the nurturance of all.
We are so very arrogant in our thought processes. The world scientific community has never been able to define nor describe gravity, nor time, nor electricity for a few examples. However, we use these phenomenon to describe a host of other phenomenon that scientists also have no definition nor description of. Einstein, for example, thought that he had defined gravity in terms of his theory of relativity. He realized later that he had not, and spent the rest of his life trying to do so. He did not succeed.
Joao Magueijo writes concerning Einstein's confusion: "He thus restored nothingness to the nothing (as he dispensed with the ages old "ether" theory), voidness to the void. And then (in 1917) he was reversing himself completely, asking whether one could ascribe some sort of existence to the void after all, so that the void could produce gravity. Could nothing be something?"
The late Richard Feynman:
"The theory of gravitation... was not understandable from the laws of motion... gravitation is, so far, not understandable in terms of other phenomenon... So not only have we no experiments with which to check a quantum theory of gravitation, we also have no reasonable theory."