A Lesson on Methods of Taoist Meditation by Richard Hackworth

September 13, 2009

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.

  1. 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.
  2. Take this a step further and focus on the contractions of your abdominal area as you breath in and out.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Allow your breathing to create a rhythmic “drumbeat” which will increase your energy and help you ignore outside interferences.


  1. 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 .


Bridging Cultural Gaps with Martial Arts Training

September 10, 2009

Bridging Cultural Gaps with Richard and Mi Yi Hackworth

Understanding Korean thinking: The first step to bridging cultural gaps.

“What do Koreans think?” This question has intrigued Western practitioners of Korean martial arts since their first contact with the Korean culture after World War II. For Westerners living in Korea or training in Korean martial arts under the tutelage of Korean born instructors who are concerned with Korean-Western problems, it is important to understand the cultural influences that affect the Korean mind set. The thoughts, philosophies and personal value systems that Koreans function from. This understanding is necessary if one is to develop rapport, have meaningful communication, exchange ideas and enhance the student-instructor relationship to improve the learning process.

“What do Koreans think?” Koreans and Asians in general have had a distorted reputation for being inscrutable and impossible for the Westerner to understand. This is because as a culture Westerners have received most of their “education” about Asian culture, philosophy and ideas from martial arts movies. Movies that were made for entertainment, not education or to create insight. How can we truly learn about Korean thinking without a background in Asian philosophy, history, religions, sociology and anthropology? So that is where we will begin with this series of articles.

Undoubtedly, Koreans are very human in the same raw humanities and feelings that we all share. Westerners have had to learn to sublimate or cover up these feelings in order to be accepted in their own culture. Koreans cover up differently than Westerners. Korean people show their human nature without the modifications of centuries of Greco-Roman, Judeo-Christian, Anglo-Saxon heritage. Their modifications may be built on Shamanistic base, or are Buddhist, Confucian, because these are the century old concepts that influence the Korean culture.

Korean are surprisingly like Westerners in many ways. If you visit patient to patient in a hospital in Seoul, Korea and then visit patient to patient with people in a hospital in Orlando, Florida and notice the way they react is identical. How they react to pain, suffering, disappointment and dying. The deepest fears, hopes, motivations, loves, jealousies, insecurities, inferiority complexes and frustrations common to most people are easily recognized in Koreans. So the first key to bridging the cultural gaps between Koreans and Westerners is to begin with this realizations. People are people and we all have feelings and ideas.

Having lived in Korea for more than a decade and being both Korean and American, we have experienced all of the conflicts and misunderstanding that could come between two cultures during our twenty plus years of marriage. We hope that the resolutions that have helped us bridge these cultural gaps between the two of us can be helpful to everyone else who is crossing those cultures and influences in their daily lives through Korean martial arts training. Next time we will discuss the Korean language, learning the Korean language and how what we say is not always what the other person hears.

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