Tao has been translated as Way, principle, nature, road and many other related terms. For practitioners of Tao ( 道) it is the source of everything; the original ingredient to life as we know it. It is so vast and mosaic none of us can tell how it started. It is by itself ~never born nor dying. Tao is so grand it is limitless; at the same time it is so subtle and fine it travels through anything. Lao Tsu tried himself to see it but it's invisible; he tried to feel it but could not feel it; He asked for it's voice but nothing responded in a communicable voice.
The general ideas here can be found in the Tao Teh Ching found in chapters 4, 23, 32,34,35,41,53,62, and chapter 77. Here you will find citations to the generic term Tao within the chapters themselves, within the theme of lessons.
With that being notated although, there are although, seven key conceptual meanings that are used in many Taoist of China teachings of the Tao Teh Ching or a.k.a. the "Lao Tsu". Taoist of China are simply my terms for teachers and friends whom are a lineage of Taoist whom use Lao Tsu's teachings as a foundational source of transcendence to the source. Below I will list them for anyone's own personal meditation & contemplative practice:
1. Truth/Eternity: "The Tao which one can explain is not the unchanging Tao". (Ch. 1)
2. Creator/Creation: "The Tao gives birth to all things; virtue rears them". (Ch.51)
3. Energetic Power: " Returning is motion of Tao". (Ch.40)
4. Omnipresence: "Its alone stands without changes. It is omnipresent and endless. It may be the mother of our world. I don't know it's name, but name it the Tao; source of all things". (Ch. 25)
5. Foundations & Principles: "If you hold to the Tao of ancient life, one will manage existence in the present. If one can know the origin;..it is called the precepts of the Tao". (Ch.14)
6. Supreme Standard: "Our greatest virtue expression is to only follow and practice Tao". (Ch.21)
7. Nature: The Tao follows Nature. (Ch. 25)