What is Meditation According to Tao Te Ching?
Origin & Meaning of Taoist Meditation:-
Taoism (Daoism) is a Chinese philosophy and religion, dating back to Lao Tzu (or Laozi). It emphasizes living in harmony with Nature, or Tao, and its main text is the Tao Te Ching, dating back to 6th century B.C. Later on, some lineages of Taoism were also influenced by Buddhist meditation practices brought from India, especially on the 8th-century C.E.
The chief characteristic of this type of meditation is the generation, transformation, and circulation of inner energy. The purpose is to quieten the body and mind, unify body and spirit, find inner peace, and harmonize with the Tao. Some styles of Taoist Meditation is specifically focused on improving health and giving longevity.
How to do it?
There are several different types of Taoist meditation, and are classified into three categories: “insight,” “concentrative,” and “visualization.”
Here is a brief overview:-
1. Emptiness meditation:-
•To sit quietly and empty oneself of all mental images (thoughts, feelings, and so on), to “forget about everything,” to experience inner quiet and emptiness.
•In this state, vital force and “spirit” is collected and replenished.
•It is similar to the Confucius discipline of “heart-mind fasting,” and it is regarded as “the natural way.”
•One allows all thoughts and sensations arise and fall by themselves, without engaging with or “following” any of them.
•If this is found to be too hard and “uninteresting,” the student is instructed with other types of meditation, such as visualization and Qigong
2. Breathing meditation:-
•During meditation, we must focus your vital breath until it is supremely soft.”
•Sometimes this is done by merely quietly observing the breath (similar to Mindfulness Meditation in Buddhism); in other traditions it is by following specific patterns of exhalation and inhalation, so that one becomes directly aware of the “dynamism of Heaven and Earth” through ascending and descending breath (a type of Qigong, similar to Pranayama in Yoga).
•To visualizing inside one’s body and mind, including the organs, movements, and thought processes.
•It’s a process of acquainting oneself with the wisdom of nature in your body.
•There are particular instructions for following this practice, and a good book or a teacher is required.
These meditations are done seated cross-legged on the floor, with spine erect. The eyes are kept half-closed and fixed on the point of the nose.