Taoist practice – being one with nature, with the universe

“Adi Mudra, the fundamental concept in the tradition of the Way of the Heart allows any spiritual action or method to acquire exceptional efficiency, and the nondual state of divine and eternal bliss can be reached, which does not depend at all on the play of opposites.

Then Yin and Yang no longer have any influence, and everyday life is infused with the perfection and unity of the Self.”

Leo Radutz
president of the AdAnima Academic Society

Taoist practice – being one with nature, with the universe

Taoism is a strong traditional, philosophical and religious vein that has left its mark on the entire area of East Asia. Elaborated over two thousand years ago, Taoist philosophy began to penetrate more and more in the West, starting in the nineteenth century. The term “Tao” is often translated as “way” or “road” (life), although in popular Chinese tradition, in religious or philosophical sense, this term has more abstract connotations.
The principles of Taoism, as a spiritual path, focus on cultivating the three Gems of the Way of the Tao: compassion, moderation, or temperance, and humility. Taoist spiritual practice is centered on cultivating a state of health and vigor of the whole being, through techniques and methods of unlocking and cultivating energy in the body, in order to obtain an intimate and harmonious communion with nature, with the space in which we live, with the entire universe. The benefits of this behavior also involve some “side effects” much coveted by people: longevity, inner contentment, physical and mental balance, removing signs of decrepitude due to age, etc. Naturally, a state of inner harmony and consonance with the universe in which we live leads us to perceive the Divine that is at the origin of all creation.

Elements of Taoist practice

In Chinese medicine, the ten vital organs are classified into five pairs, each of which consists of a Yin organ (“full” organ) and a Yang organ (“cavitary” organ). Yin organs are more vital than yang organs, and dysfunctions of these organs cause the biggest health problems (cancers, degenerative conditions, autoimmune conditions, etc.). The organs are not arbitrarily coupled, but are connected by concrete functional and anatomical relationships:

The heart (Yin organ) – “ruler of vital organs” – dominated by Fire, regulates all other organs by controlling blood circulation. The heart is paired with the small intestine (yang organ), which separates pure and impure products, absorbs nutrients, which it then sends to the heart so that they can circulate through the body.
The liver (Yin organ), dominated by Wood, is the metabolic residence of the body, being directly responsible for the general health of a person. The yang organ associated with the liver is the gallbladder, whose intimate functional relationship with the liver is recognized by Western medicine.
The pancreas, a yin organ dominated by Earth, controls the production of vital enzymes necessary for digestion and metabolism. This function is directly related to its associated Yang – the stomach. If the pancreas fails to produce enough enzymes, digestion in the stomach stagnates, causing fermentation of food and rotting of food instead of digestion.
– lungs, dominated by Metal – as Chinese medical texts state, the lungs govern both breathing and the circulation of energy (qi). The Yin lungs are associated with the large intestine, which is Yang. Respiratory diseases are generally accompanied by constipation, and constipation usually causes chest discomfort.
Kidneys – Yin, dominated by Water, is called the “gate of life” because it controls the overall balance of vital fluids in the body, which in turn influences energy levels. The bladder is functionally linked to the kidneys, as a Yang partner.

The theory of the five elements (Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, Water) explains the cosmological association between man and the universe:
In the generative cycle, each force arises from one of the other forces: Wood burns to generate Fire. Fire produces ash, which generates Earth. Earth generates and reveals Metal. When heated, the metal melts, generating the element Water. Water helps plants grow, thus generating Wood. In the repressive cycle, however, one force is eliminated by another: Wood depletes the soil of nutrients, thus suppressing the Earth. Earth “defeats” Water. Water suppresses Fire, extinguishing it. Fire suppresses Metal, melting it, and Metal removes Wood, cutting it down.

Always the Taoist practice, carried out either for therapeutic or spiritual purposes, of cultivating the energy of the being and connecting with the Universe and the Divine, begins with some warming, preparatory exercises:

Oscillation of the spine
It rocks the spine back and forth starting from the hips, as if riding a horse. We feel the spine and nerves activating.
It continues with rotational movements of the hips, one way and the other. We feel the spine relaxed and relaxed, with a pleasant tingling sensation in the spine, organs and glands.

Spinal breathing
Standing, with knees slightly flexed and legs spread apart, pelvis pushed back, arms stretched above our heads, we pull on our arms as if pulling on a bar, while exhaling. The head is given back a lot. When the arms have reached the shoulders, we push the pelvis forward, put a lot of chin in the chest and put the arms together in front of the forehead, with the palms made up. During this time we exhale deeply. The exercise has a profound effect of massaging the internal organs and elongating the spine.

The string of pearls
Standing, legs apart, hands stretched above the head, fingers crossed, we lean forward, without flexing the spine, between the legs and torso forming an angle of 90°. During this time we inspire. When we have come close to the ground, we raise our palms in front of the trunk, exhaling, until we reach the starting position. Repeat 3 times. We twist our torso to the left and execute the same bend on the inhale, but this time towards the left leg. When we get close to the ground we rotate the trunk towards the right leg and return to exhale, raising the arms along the right side of the body. The same movement is repeated 3 times, after which we change direction (we twist and bend to the right, return to the left side of the body). It is also done 3 times.

The crane that drinks water
We perform extensive rotations of the head, as follows: first in the Yin, clockwise direction – we stretch the cervical spine as much as possible, then we push the head forward, then down, to return, retreating the head to the back. Thus, we perform a circle from top to bottom, in the sagittal plane (side, front – back), like a bird drinking water, pushing its head forward, then bending it towards the water bowl, and finally raising its neck and head up, to swallow the water from its beak. After making this circuit a few times we will perform the movement in the Yang, counterclockwise direction. To do this, we push the head down – front, raise it as if facing the sky, then pull the head and neck back and then down, closing the circle.
It is desirable that between these types of movements we maintain a short break in awareness, in which, with our eyes closed for better concentration, we capture the effects of these techniques, both on the mobilized physical organs and on the energetic ones (manifested by certain sensations of unblocking the mobilized area, by increased tone, slight vibrations, local heating, slight tingling or prickling sensations, and any other perception denoting energetic activity).

The turtle sticks its head out of its shell
This is a complementary exercise to the previous one. In this case, we will mobilize the cervical spine and head region by rotating in a transverse plane. We will start with the Yin sense of movement: we rotate the head, held with the chin parallel to the ground, from left to right – we “push” the head to the left, as if we want to bring the left ear closer to a sound source; Then we push the head forward, circularly, to bring it back to the right, as if bringing the right ear closer to a sound source.; We then return slightly to the back with our chin retracted. After a few such circuits and a break in awareness, as in the previous exercise, we resume the movement in the Yang direction: this time we will start rotating from right to left. We take care to rotate the head while continuously keeping our gaze forward, with the chin parallel to the ground. During movement, the eyes may be closed (if we feel the need for better retreat inward and better concentration) or open, if we feel slight dizziness or for other reasons.

Little Celestial Circuit
According to Chinese medicine, energy flows through two main channels:
1 Conception vessel, Yin that begins at the base of the trunk, in the perineum, at a point located midway between the anus and sex. It goes up to the pelvis, passes through the abdominal organs, through the heart, neck, to stop in the middle of the mento-labial groove, the groove under the lower lip.
2 Governor vessel, Yang which begins halfway between the tip of the coccyx and the anus, travels through the lumbar area, goes up through the spine to the brain, reaches the crown of the head, descends and passes under the nose, to above the upper lip.
The two channels form a circuit, the organ connecting them being the tongue. For this reason, during the following meditation, the tongue will stick to the roof of the mouth.

We begin to relax the body, gradually, relaxation being important for health and well-being and antidote to stress. We imagine a red ball, no bigger than the ring made by the index finger and thumb. We mentally place this ball under the navel. We feel the vibration of energy inside the body, we gather it with the help of the mind, forming a pleasant and warm sphere of energy, a fire, a sun shining above an ocean. We lower it to the perineal point, where the Conception Vessel, the main source of energy in the body, begins. We take enough time to perceive this energy pulsating and breathing within us, like an ocean whose waves go back and forth.

We now bring the energetic sphere to the point between the coccyx and anus, where the Governor’s Vessel begins. We let energy radiate from the navel and perineum into the coccyx and sacrum bone. We raise it on the spine to the right of the kidneys. We feel a pleasant sensation of warmth in the kidneys and a pleasant state of inner calm. We raise it a little more to the adrenal glands, which will send us a strong influx of adrenaline. We raise the energy sphere on the spine to the middle of the back, strongly energizing that area. We then let the energy radiate upwards to the point between the T5 and T6 vertebrae, which is opposite to the heart, and perceive how the energy of this area increases.

We let the energy radiate to the most prominent cervical vertebra, C7. We then bring it into the recess at the base of the skull, letting it radiate to the back of the spine. We ascend energy to the top of our heads, feeling the powerful energetic connection with the infinite universal sphere. We let the energy radiate to the point between the eyebrows, increasing the amount of energy there. We then descend the energy flow to the point located at the base of the neck, where the thyroid is located. We let the energy flow to the point of the heart, lower it to the solar plexus, and then let the energy return to the navel. We perceive the vibration of energy inside the body, gather it with the help of the mind, forming a pleasant and warm sphere of energy, a fire, a sun shining above an ocean. We continue to descend to the perineal point, where the Conception Vessel, the main source of energy in the body, begins.

We let the energy flow to the point of the heart, lower it to the solar plexus, and then let the energy return to the navel, where we store it through its mental spiral, covering the navel with both palms (left over right in men, with energy spiraling clockwise, and right over left in women, spiraling counterclockwise 36 times). Then the direction is reversed in both men and women, spiraling only 24 times.

We rest. We reap the fruits of circulating energy and balancing the flow of energy through the Little Celestial Circuit. We cultivate a sense of inner peace, calm and clarity. We’re back at our own pace.

Tree meditation
Standing, with our knees slightly flexed, our feet parallel, our thigh muscles and our buttocks tense, we imagine that we have a tree in front of us, which we embrace with our arms. We achieve a harmonization with the energy of the tree, taking from it everything that is beneficial. What tree is it? We see its roots, how deep and strong they are, the trunk, the bark in the smallest details. We notice if there are hollows, ramifications… We notice its branches… How are they? Numerous and powerful, or bare? Does it have leaves, or does it blend into an autumn landscape? It has fruit, or maybe flowers… What’s the crown like? Is it alone or is it surrounded by other trees? How do we feel? What state do we have? What’s the weather like? Maybe it’s bright sunshine, or a beautiful twilight… What smell do we feel around? Maybe the smell of spring rain, or grass, or the smell of resin… We analyze all the details, we fill ourselves with the energy that the tree offers us… We perceive it in all the cells of our body…

If we have the possibility, we even grasp a tree in our arms, imagining how its energy (yang) penetrates through the crown of our head, fills our body, while through the palms of our hands the Yin energies flow. We sit by the tree, we hug it until we feel that we become one with it, until a flow, a communication, a silent dialogue, a merging appears within us. We become the tree, and we participate in all universal events with it. When the sun rises and the tree comes to life, we perceive this vital sap within us. When the rain comes and the tree is satisfied after a long thirst, we feel satisfied with it.

We will thus find ourselves in an ever more intimate relationship with the universe, and we will begin to communicate ever more deeply with the entire creation of God.

An article by psychologist Aida Surubaru
AdAnima Academic Society

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