Origin & Meaning:
Daoism is an ancient Chinese philosophy and religion. This tradition dates back to Lao Tau (Laozi). The primary motive behind this practice is to find balance with Nature, or quite simply Tao. Its main book of teachings is call the Tao Te Ching, which dates back to 6th century BC. There was some dilution of set methods by the infiltration of Buddhist mediation via India, in 8th century CE.
The purpose off this practice is the generation, transformation and circulation of the inner energy. The quieting of the mind and body creates a unification of the two, this leads to inner peace and harmonization of Tao. Certain sects focus primarily on improving health and promoting longevity.
How To Do It:
There are 3 main types of Taoist meditation, these include insight, concentrative and visualization.
Emptiness Meditation — One must sit quietly and empty oneself of all mental sensations, such as thoughts, feelings etc. The focus of this is to “forget everything” and experience inner quiet and emptiness. In this super relaxed state vitality and “spirit” is replenished. One simply allows mental sensation to raise and fall without any consequence. The trick is to not engage or follow any thoughts.
Breathing Meditation — This focus of this exercise is to pay attention to ones breath. The reason for this is to unite the mind and qi into one force. The instructions are as follows, “focus your vital breath until it is supremely soft”. This is done by mindful breath technique that is popular with Buddhists. There are other techniques as well including following certain patterns of exhalation and inhalation, so that one becomes directly aware of the “dynamisms of Heaven and Earth” through the ascending and descending breath.
Neiguan (“inner observation; inner vision”) — Visualizing inside of ones minds and body. This includes paying attention to organs, “inner deities, qi (vital force) movements and thought processes. This is essentially the process of acquainting oneself with the nature of your body. A good book or teacher is recommended for this type of meditation.
All of these practices are often done seated with legs crossed and the spine erect. The eyes are kept half-closed and eyes are to be directed at the tip of ones nose.
Is It For Me? :
People that are in tuned with their body and has a likening for nature may like Taoist meditation. The philosophy behind this practice is interesting and may appeal to readers. People that like martial arts and Tai Chi might appreciate this form of meditation.