What is Taoism?
If we want to understand Taoism clearly then first and foremost we have to look at other religions and cultures. All of these will teach you about philosophy and dogma first pretty easily but Taoism does then the other way around. It will firstly start with teaching you “the Tao” which basically means the truth and is indefinable. It tells you that each person on their own terms can discover the Tao so it is based on every individual rather than the teachings being classified for a particular group of people or even as a whole. This may sound pretty easy because it is individually based but in reality, this certain concept can be pretty challenging to grasp as most people would prefer a single type of concrete information on which they can apply their ideologies.
A simple way of learning Taoism is to first start with you and this can be done by following some easy steps.
- Do not fixate yourself on the concrete meaning of Tao and try to figure it out that way as it will, later on, come naturally to you. So do not keep a one track mind.
- You need to understand Taoism. Do not just take it like any other philosophy or religion. Rather treat it as a being. It is a whole system of beliefs, practices, and is set towards the services and living to a person’s nature.
- The path towards understanding Taoism starts off by understanding yourself. It starts when you truly embrace your nature rather than fighting the contradictions in life. One must know that their nature is ever changing and stays the same. So base it on the concept of individuality and find out your true nature and then accept it.
The Practice of Taoism
Taoism is a practice which teaches a person to go along with the flow of life. It has no restrictions whatsoever Taoism is not just considered as a religion to people but in fact, many things as each individual apply it in their lives in a different way and there are therefore countless variations of Taoism which are found amongst individuals. Some take it as more of a philosophical approach and therefore base their practices accordingly and others take a more religious approach. One thing which is very important to note is that there must be no labels applied to Taoism as that distorts the entire concept because then there is this certain restriction applied to it. This approach implies that each human is a blend of many different truths. Consequently, the truth that is taught in Taoism is to embrace life in actions that support a person as a distinct individual.
There are some simple tips to start with Taoism but before that one must note that Taoism teaches a person to live in their heart.
- What can be very helpful is to have a set of some basic guidelines. But if we see it realistically then guidelines cannot determine how to live. Rather than that Taoism teaches to live and then express one's true nature.
- Extended expressions of one’s nature should be aided with care.
- Be true to yourself
- Connect to the world as the way you want to be treated
- Connect to those outside of your nature with decisive action
- Let the ones remain how they are, and stay how you are, silently, if they do not accept you for your true nature
- You are nothing and just merely a passing custodian of items that are outside of your nature
- Discover and do practices which engage your body, mind and spirit and make them strong. Keep in mind that these practices should support your essence and true nature with activities that fit the need of the moment. One’s life practices finally become an ever-shifting mix of activities which are relative to your needs. An example of this is the practice of martial arts to keep your body strong, yoga to make your body subtle, meditation to clear your mind and biking to simply fly.