How to Become a Taoist ?
Born in China and with a history of more than 2500 years, the Tao is a spiritual path that is more and more attractive in the West.
Tao means the Way, the central axis "from which everything starts and everything returns": in other words, the art of living in harmony with the universe and with oneself, internally and externally 😊.
Approached as a philosophy more than a religion, the Tao responds with simplicity and modernity to our existential aspirations.
Discover with us how to become a taoist to live in energy, sincerity and authenticity.
1) How to Become a Taoist - Day by Day ?
The Taoist must cultivate virtue or "dê", i.e. follow the natural flow of things without disturbing or attempting to alter it. The dê is manifested by the "wou wei", or art of non-action, which must lead to inner harmony.
Far from meaning "doing nothing", wou wei implies choosing one's actions in accordance with the Way, while being aware that one cannot go against everything and the universe.
Mastery of wou wei allows one to acquire sufficient concentration to reach mystical flight: whoever achieves it is considered a perfect man and becomes an immortal Taoist 💪.
In addition to this spiritual preparation which leads him to cultivate modesty, humility and tolerance, the Taoist must undertake a physical preparation.
These so-called Long Life practices can be of a dietary, gymnastic, medical, sexual, etc. nature, and are supposed to give him the necessary energy to achieve immortality. Here are a few examples.
1. Recognizing the Dance of Yin and Yang
☯ To live the Tao, it is to be conscious of these two contrary energies, born from the primordial void and which take turns unceasingly:
The Yang (which corresponds to hardness, masculinity, action, being, light) succeeds the Yin (which incarnates the feminine, softness, passivity, non-being, night).
In any situation, one of these forces will succeed the other. Therefore, to find harmony, one will constantly seek the point of balance between the two. In the kitchen, we will elaborate menus that combine Yin (sugar, fruits, green vegetables, etc.) and Yang (meat, eggs, seafood, etc.).
In daily life, the balance between spirituality and materialism, work and inactivity, solitude and social life, nature and city, giving and receiving, etc. will be found.
2. Tuning to Cycles
♻ Every living thing is subject to cycles of destruction and regeneration. Events do not escape this law of mutation: each adventure of life has its own times of action and immobilization, and wisdom consists in recognizing the end of a cycle, not fighting against the inevitable and knowing when to move.
This also applies to everyday life. During the day, for example, at what time do we feel at the top of our energy ? When does it decline ?
Listening to your body and its rhythm allows you to find harmony in your daily life.
3. Sit Down and Forget
🧘♂️ For the Taoist, the inner work takes precedence over everything and to act in accordance with the Tao, one must first listen to its deep nature. Wisdom must come from inner intuition, and not be an amalgam of all the information gleaned from the outside.
There is only one way to contact it: enter into inner silence and meditate. One does not meditate to gain wisdom or serenity but to lose something every day: a wrong idea, a bad behavior, a conflicting emotion... and thus to refocus on the essential.
4. Learning to "Nourish Life"
The early Taoists, who affirmed their desire to attain immortality, developed hundreds of techniques for internal regeneration.
⚡ These millennia-old practices have not moved an inch. Living in the Tao, in our time, still means becoming aware of the vital energy that is within and making it bear fruit thanks to these refined techniques:
Tai Chi, Qi gong (the "health gymnastics"), Taoist massages, preventive Chinese medicine, acupuncture, energetic breathing, etc.
Today, the courses that allow you to get started are swarming.
But let's not forget the essential challenge on which they were designed: everyone must know how to regenerate themselves, and thus become increasingly autonomous. To each his own tao, then.
5. Living the Sexual Act as a Powerful Energy Exchange
As is the case with Qi gong or meditation, the sexual act is also intended to promote union with the Tao.
It is experienced as a powerful moment of energy exchange, and as such has repercussions throughout life: when sexual energy flows freely throughout the body, you feel spiritually higher and more connected to your impulses 💦.
2) The Tao, Way of Life
Tao (or dao, 道 in Chinese character) is a term in Chinese philosophy meaning "the way, the path". Tao can be considered as the "Mother of the World", the matrix existing within the universe before the passage of Qi (or original breath), and preceding the binary parity of Yin and Yang.
It is the principle that generates all that exists, the fundamental force that flows in all things in the universe.
🇨🇳 The Tao is at the heart of Chinese ethical conceptions (the word "daode", moral, is moreover derived from it), generally considered as a pragmatist of the golden mean, or of the favorable choice.
The word Tao is often translated as "the principle" and by extension, a large number of practices and oriental arts and crafts have the word dao, "the art of" as a suffix: cha dao, "the art of tea", kongshoudao or karate-do, "the art of the empty hand" and the famous martial art, and so on.
3) Understand Taoism
Tao is the master concept at work in Taoism, Chinese philosophy and spiritual path. The "Tao Te King", written by Lao Tzu around -600 BC, is the founding text of Taoism (or Daoism).
This work is a guide to wisdom composed largely of verse, and is presented in the form of a series of aphorisms or metaphors.
These sometimes rather obscure precepts, however, highlight the essential principle of Taoism: the Tao (or Dao), the Way.
🧙 Lao Tzu said: "The Tao that one can name is not the Tao". Taoism is, along with Confucianism, the most original form of thought in China and certain Asian countries.
Without moralizing notions, it is free of concepts such as hell, the devil, eternal darkness, the forces of evil, in opposition to a luminous and good God.
Nothing in the universe is conceived as intrinsically evil. Good needs evil and vice versa.
The sense of fairness and the will to be in harmony with the universe are enough to be in the Way. Thus, morality is an internal norm in the wise man, he does not do evil.
👉 For the one who practices Taoism, man is not guilty of his mistakes, he is just in ignorance and he learns.
4) Some Beliefs of Taoism
As in Buddhism, the philosophy of Tao is based on the principle of Yin and Yang. The earth, moon, woman, metal, water, autumn and winter are Yin, while the sky, sun, man, wood, fire, spring and summer are Yang.
These two complementary aspects, sometimes by their conflict, sometimes by their union, are at the origin of all things, and the perpetual movement between these polarities is at the origin of the main characteristic of the material world: the impermanence.
In Taoism, the universe is in perpetual evolution, and only change is permanent; everything is only a never-ending beginning, and it is by accepting it that we manage to live in harmony.
A. Becoming One with the Universe
Like other oriental philosophies, Tao philosophy is largely inspired by the observation and contemplation of nature 🌱.
The Taoist must be modest in front of the universe, nature and what it imposes. He must submit to it because he will only find misfortune if he struggles against it or if he tries to dominate it.
B. Searching for the Essence, Escaping from Appearance
The Taoists sought the true nature of things, a process that invites us to go beyond appearances. Thus, in the middle of November, the Chinese already see spring. They know that they have to turn the earth upside down to prepare for future blooms. The Tao favors being over appearing.
C. Thinking "Outside the Box".
To find the Way, one of the possible ways is the use of paradoxes, which are highlighted in the Tao Te King:
- He who knows does not speak. He who speaks does not know.
- Weakness is stronger than strength
- To know is not to know: that is excellence. Not knowing is knowing: that is error.
🤔 The purpose of these paradoxical sentences is to disrupt the brain, to break conventional thinking, to better take a step back from the education received.
D. Living and Learning
Tao is only understandable in the reality of life. It is up to each person to work with their tools, to create their own path, in concrete experience and daily life.
The goal of all reflection is action, however abstract it may be, it must always have a practical or concrete purpose in everyday life.
E. Taking Responsibility
There is no hierarchy, no rules and a lack of will to convince in Taoism. Each human being is responsible for his existence, his emotional, social, spiritual and health development.
For the Taoist, the violation of natural laws inevitably leads to sanctions: lack of harmony, isolation and afflictions.
⚠️ Words and actions have consequences, this implies responsibility and it is necessary to be careful about what is done and what is said, the ideal being to leave as few traces as possible of our passage.
F. Being Authentic
Accepting yourself as you are is the best way to live your life. Focusing all your attention on your appearance or wearing a mask makes you lose too much energy.
Being authentic with oneself and with others is the best way to avoid falling into the traps of the ego.
G. Live a Simple Life
In Taoism, it is recommended not to waste your vital energy, so excess is to be banished in thoughts, words and deeds of life. Too much is a source of imbalance in all areas of life.
On the contrary, simplicity and frugality make us go to the essence of beings and things.
H. Relativizing Things
It is important in the Tao to learn how to manage your emotions, so as not to identify with one's successes or failures, and to be able to put things into perspective.
The goal is to cultivate a stable and non-reactive ego: the practice of humility and detachment will lead to sobriety and wisdom 🙏.
I. Let Yourself be Amazed
It's about making yourself available to marvel, to see beauty everywhere and in everything, but also to laugh at things in the world, to de-dramatize them.
The Taoist has understood that life is a game, he goes through it remaining himself, being both attentive and detached, but enjoying its beauty.
To conclude, become a Taoist sage is to live by the Tao. Its silent, deep and invisible force that embraces all things and is always in motion, fluid and elusive.
To reach it, it is necessary to remain in the nothingness, the non-being, not to seek. It is necessary to settle down in tranquility, to know the perfect tranquility to find its original origin.
In the Tao, the mind becomes so vast that it embraces heaven and earth in the same harmony. We learn to follow nature, to love the world, to love ourselves, to have compassion, to forgive.
☯ A beautiful philosophy for a better world ?