Taoism > Meditation
The Art of Meditation in Taoism
The word "meditation" is very popular in Western culture. The main source of its popularity is based on the yoga practices and philosophy. In Taoism, meditation doesn't follow the same purpose like yoga. Furthermore, there are no postures (asanas), nor inner concentration or fusional feelings. Talking about Taoist meditation Alan Watts wrote:
Contemplative Taoists will be happily to sit with yogis and Zennists for as long as is reasonable and comfortable, but when nature tells us that we are 'pushing the river' we will get up and do something else, or even go to sleep.(From Tao: The Watercourse Way).
Basically, Taoist meditation is more like a sort of wisdom achieved by close observation of the things and phenomena in the world surrounding us. Such wisdom should help us go alongside with things and not against them, and is surely related to the Nondoing concept and practice.
At the end of seven years, there was another change. I let my mind reflect on what it would, but it no longer occupied itself with right and wrong. I let my lips utter whatsoever they pleased, but they no longer spoke of profit and loss. (From Taoist Teachings Translated from the Book of Lieh Tzu, 1912, Lionel Giles version).
The phrase "no longer spoke of profit and loss" points to the complete detachment of the Taoist from all contingencies of human ethics.
What is meditation good for? It clearly helps one understand the momentary trends of the universe in order to follow them in one's very life. In other words, the Taoist disciple tries to adopt a life style corresponding to the movement of the universe or the Tao.
Practicing Taoist meditation today, in our modern world, is a must if we wish to escape from the turmoil of our everyday living. Detachment may be healthy and also offers one a special place from where he/she may contemplate the flow of the things and trace the lines of advancement and retreat, that is, progress and regress.
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