A Lesson on Methods of Taoist Meditation
By Richard Hackworth, Ph.d., Lac.
The Taoist meditation practices are less abstract than their similar counterparts that evolved in India (the Hindu and Buddhist systems) and traveled to China as the teachings of Monks. One of the central focuses of Taoist meditation relates to the circulation of internal energy (called deh-chee). It can be used to promote a healthy lifestyle and extend life expectancy by improving spiritual relationships with the world. Practical aspects of Taoist meditation may relate to interests and activities such as self-knowledge, concentration, and spiritual healing. This concept is vital to the mental and spiritual development of true warriors.
According to the high monks of Shaolin and masters of meditation there are two elements making up meditation: the “jing,” which means calmness and stillness, and the “ding,” which stands for concentration and focus. Calmness is directed towards cutting off external factors of disturbance and enabling you to direct your attention toward your inner self.
By focusing on the breathing and allowing your mind to concentrate, you should achieve a state called “one-pointed awareness.” This state allows you to achieve a deep concentration, allowing you to get a better understanding of any elements that you are focusing on. There should be none, or very limited, distractions during this heightened awareness state. This technique may be used efficiently to find solutions to problems presented by the outside world. It also prepares you to deal with these difficulties.
The first steps of practicing Taoist meditation as a martial artist are often difficult as your mind is not willing to cooperate in the process. It is tough to tap into the high potential of the subconscious mind. Out thoughts tend to fly away, increasing confusion when we need clarity the most, bringing mental chaos when order is desired. There are six ways that enable you to recover your inner concentration and increase your ability to focus your mind.
- Focus on the flow of energy throughout your body. Do this by paying special attention to your breathing, to the air going in and out of your lungs.
- Take this a step further and focus on the contractions of your abdominal area as you breath in and out.
- Imagine a candle, with your eyes shut. Shift your focus on the center of the flame, but don’t loose sight of the edges. At this stage, it is vital to eliminate or ignore all outside interferences.
- Practice mantra, the ‘sacred syllables,’ which lead to a harmony of the mind and relaxation of the body. The three most effective syllables are ‘om’, which brings equilibrium to your body, ‘ah’, which balances your vital energy, and ‘hum’, which brings the spirit to a heightened state of awareness and focus. Chanting of the syllables should be done in a deep, low-pitched tone and with a long exhale of the air.
- Allow your breathing to create a rhythmic “drumbeat” which will increase your energy and help you ignore outside interferences.
- Focus on a symbol that is very important to you. This can be a loved one, a deity or a place or notion. When you feel relaxed and focused, switch back to the meditation.
About the author: Richard Hackworth is a multi-arts grand master , author of more than forty books and host of “The Richard Hackworth Show” at www.actionradio.net .Get $300 worth of free bonuses when you subscribe to his e-newsletter at http://www.richardhackworth.com .