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According to ICBS, Inc., Taoist meditation has a lot in common with Hindu and Buddhist meditation, but the Taoist method is less abstract and less contemplative. Taoist meditation focuses on the creation, transformation and movement of internal energy. Learn the guidelines, types and techniques of Taoist meditation.
An introduction to Taoist meditation
Taoists use meditation as one of their main tools in the quest for inner peace. According to Taoist Arts, the Chinese word for meditation means “sitting,” but Taoist meditation techniques have developed over thousands of years and are now mostly performed while moving. Taoist meditation techniques focus on breathing. Taoist Arts claim that official records show breathing exercises practiced as early as 100 B.C., but really go back much earlier than that. A focus on correct breathing is a central part of Taoist meditation techniques.
Meditation can be spiritual, but it is also physical. The aim of meditation, Taoist meditation included, is to calm the mind and body as much as possible. Taoists emphasize emptiness and stillness, especially in meditation. Once the mind is emptied of inconsequential thoughts, the body relaxes and can work at its optimal strength. Taoists also believe meditation strengthens the chi and improves your general well-being.
Taoist meditation guidelines
According to ICBS, Inc., the two main guidelines in Taoist meditation are jing (meaning quiet, stillness or calm) and ding (meaning concentration and focus). Stillness turns your attention inward and concentrates your attention on your breath to create a totally undistracted state of mind. This undisturbed mind allows for spontaneous insight, awareness and spiritual awakening.
The importance of spiritual meditation
Daily meditation helps you leave the stress of the day behind and instead focus on your spiritual awareness. Meditation reminds you that you are spiritual, and these quiet times are important for your mental and physical health. Spiritual meditation helps you experience higher levels of consciousness and become more aware of yourself while exploring your spirituality.
Taoist yoga is a modern term describing the ancient Taoist yogic art of balancing mind and body. In Taoist yoga, slow and smooth movements, stretching, breathing, visualization and meditation are practiced to bring healing, strength and balance to the body. Taoist yoga has three goals:
- Increase energy and circulate it within the body
- Become aware of the subtleties of the body
- Increase overall strength and flexibility to enhance well-being.
Taoist yoga postures and techniques are unique and generally have little to do with Hatha yoga. Breathing exercises are at the center of Taoist yoga. Some of these exercises are described below.
The meditation technique recommended by Taoist Arts is to sit comfortably with your legs crossed in the half-lotus position, with your spine straight and your rear elevated on a small pillow or cushion. The advantage of this meditation technique is that the position is stable and encourages your energy to flow upward toward your brain. Focus on your breath as it flows in and out through your nostrils. Focus on the expansion and contraction of your abdomen as you breathe. Keep your eyes half-closed and focus on a candle or meditation picture. This concentration usually clears any other distractions out of your mind.
You can also chant a mantra, or “sacred syllables,” a few minutes at a time. The three most effective syllables used in various meditation techniques are “om,” “ah” and “hum.” Rest your hands lightly on your thighs, or use the traditional mudras, with your hands in an oval shape.