Saturday, December 28, 2019

Entering Tao; Taoist Meditations

Here are some typical Taoist meditations that you should do outdoors. I hesitate to call them meditations; maybe a contemplation or reflection. A better term would be "quiet watching". The method is the traditional outdoor meditation of quietly watching an object. A reconnection to nature is the cure. If you feel rushed and hasty - or are a rushed and hasty person - do this meditation.

Watch the Sky

Lie down in an open meadow on a fine day and look up at the sky. (Yes, you'll need to stop whatever you're doing and carve out a block of time. Yes, you do have the time). A few floating white clouds pass across the deep blue.
The deep blue indicates the depth of the sky. What you can reach is only the blue colour, not the depth of inexhaustible space. 
As you quietly watch, do not be disturbed by any passing object, especially clouds. 
This will guide you to reach the depth of your own mind and spirit. 
Use it to reach your depth.

Watching the Mountain

Sit quietly some distance away so that you can have the whole mountain within your view. By observing it, you can learn its independence and grandness (or smallness if need be).
It does not yield. It stand there, decade after decade.

Watching the Waterfall

When you need to cleanse away your worries, the toxicity and contamination of the world around you, or your disappointed thoughts about some failure or something lost that cannot come back, use the waterfall.

Sometimes emotions can be destructive.
Go to a place with a large waterfall and sit near the bottom, but not so close as to get wet.
By looking at the waterfall coming down from the sky, you will be washed and cleansed by it. Your emotions and experiences will all be washed away.
The water comes from the highest of the mountains, it rushed down to hit pond and stones beneath it, pounding through the obstacles in your life.

Through perseverance a stone gives way to the water.
You can learn this perseverance.
Reflect upon this quiet watching.

Watching the Tide

Sit at a safe place by the side of the ocean or harbour. When the big tide comes rushing in to attack the stones at the shore, sit quietly and watch. No matter how strong the tide is, remain in quietude. On the one hand, you are the tide rushing to the shore, but on the other hand, you are the shore where the rushing water stops. From the two forces, movement and stillness, you will attain the unity that exists above the conflict.

Watching the Bonfire

In expreriencing the ruelty of the world, you have been disappointed and frustrated. You have been pushed into a cold corner, and your heart has become iced over. You do not find any hope in your world. You do not find any good friend in your world. You do not find any good support in your world. So sit at a right distance to watch a fire in a fireplace or bonfire. Let the fire burn away all your troubled thoughts. Let it burn off all the cruel experiences. Warm your cold heart. Let your heart return to warmth. Although people in the world may treat you badly, imagine that they treat you as though you were the one being sacrified in life to the unseen deities. Let your feelings be burned as the sacrifice in the fire. Let it cleanse you. The warmth will reward you, revitalize your heart, renew your interest in life, and reactivate your courage to confront any difficulty in life. It will enhance your bravery to move into your bright future.

Watching the White Clouds
In a late spring, summer or autumn afternoon, you will see the billowing white clouds in the sky transforming into cities, mountainsm, villages, or animals. Some clouds bring very pleasant scenes or figures, but some do not. All the things you see have no connection to you, just quietly sitting there. They are so remote from you. Allow everything to transform in front of you without attempting to manage them or to keep them the same. Similarly, objectively watch yo life, all expereinces, and all evetns. Let them pass by. Let your spirit attain clamness and quietude. You become achieved by training it to watch the tranformation of beautfy or ugliness, of different colours and shapes of clouds, without building attachment to them. Clouds can also carry you far, far away, but do not allow yourself to be carried away; always find yourself unmoved.

Then in your life, when you have thoughts or troubles, bad or good expereiences, let them be the clouds, because you have already formed and trained yourself by watching the clouds in the sky. Let the clouds carry themselves away but your spirit be independent. Also, when you have problems in your life, go into your garden. raise your head, and look at the clouds and sky above. you. Your training will return to you in a few moments, and you will find calmness and dettachment from you troubles.

Watching the Still Pond
The water in the pond is so crystal=clear, you can even see fish swimming in it. Sit near it quietly, letting your mind be the water. All the fish enjoy the freedom of sweimming in the pond; they are not bothered by wind, because they are in the water of life, not the ater of death. Why allow your mind to be so crowded with negative thoughts? Learned from the example oft he pond so that no thought or emtional experience bothers you. By watching the pond, you attain calmness. There is no source of disterbance in your sight.

Watching the Evergreen Trees
In wintertime, the proud and undefeated spirit of these trees does not yeild to the pressure of the cold or snow. Quietly standing year after year without winking or frowning, all the needles or leaves stretch and grow as they should, undisturbed. The straight, sturdy trunk is the root of your life. Observe it to help you regain your strength of life in adverse conditions or in the cold world.

Watching the Blossoming Flower
In spring, summer, autumn, and even winter, flowers are blooming. They take their support from the weather, continuing to bloom dispite inclement weather. No human individual need be withered by the negative curcumstances in life. Let your life blossom like those flowers, in the sense of the fullness of your spirit and fullness of your life strength.

Hua-Ching Ni, "Entering the Tao", pg.135-138

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