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Methods of Taoist Meditation

The Taoist meditation practices are less abstract than the other similar methods evolved in India (the Hindu and Buddhist systems). One of the main focuses of Taoist meditation relates to the circulation of internal energy (called deh-chee). It can be used to promote a healthy life style and extend life expectancy, by improving spiritual relationships with the world. Practical aspects of Taoist meditation may relate to interests and activities such as self-knowledge, concentration, spiritual healing.
There are two elements related to meditation: the 'jing', which means calmness, stillness, and the 'ding', which stands fro concentration and focus. Calmness is directed towards cutting off external factors of disturbance and allowing you to direct your attention towards your inner self. By focusing on the breathing and allowing your mind to concentrate you should achieve a state called 'one-pointed awareness'. This state allows you to achieve a deep concentration, enabling you to get a better understanding of any elements that you are focusing on. There are none, or very limited, distractions during this heightened awareness state. This technique may be used efficiently to find solutions to problems presented by the exterior world and also prepares you to deal with these difficulties.
The firs steps of practicing Taoist meditation are often difficult as your mind is not willing to cooperate totally in the process. It is hard to tap into the high potential of the subconscious mind. Out thoughts tend to fly away, increasing confusion when we need clarity the most, bringing mental chaos when order is sought. There are six ways that enable you to recover your inner concentration and increase your ability to focus precisely on what you dictate your mind to, not vice versa.
1.Focus on the flow of energy through your body. You can do this by paying special attention to your breathing, to the air going in and out of your lungs.
2.Take this a step further and focus on the contractions of the abdominal area as you breath in and out.
3.Imagine a candle, with your eyes closed. Shift your focus on the center of the flame but don't loose sight of the edges. At this stage it is vital to eliminate or ignore all outside interferences.
4.Practice mantra, the 'sacred syllables' which lead to a harmony of the mind and relaxation of the body. The three most effective syllables are 'om', which brings equilibrium to your body, 'ah', which balances your vital energy, and 'hum', which takes the spirit into a heightened state of awareness and focus. Chanting of the syllables should be done in a deep, low-pitched tone and a long exhale of the air.
5.Allow your breathing to create a rhythmic 'drum beat' which will increase your energy and help you ignore outside interferences
6.Focus on a symbol that is very important to you. This can be a person you love, a deity or a place or notion. When you feel relaxed and focused switch back to the meditation.

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