The Five Elements: Old Taoism’s Cycle of Transformation
Tao journal, February 2013 excerpt:
As one of the three key streams of Tao energy arts, Five Element Theory can be applied to understand the manifest world in which we live, such as feng shui and astrology, music and military strategy, martial arts and medicine, diet and therapy. There are many schools of thought and many dozens of systems available to work with the Five Elements. For example, the Creation-Destruction Cycles—or Wood-Fire-Earth-Metal-Water and Wood-Earth-Water-Fire-Metal, respectively—were popularised during the first half of the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD), and remain widespread today.
However, Old Taoism’s approach to the Five Elements is primarily concerned with transformation in body, mind and chi. The Transformational Cycle is represented as: Water-Fire-Wood-Metal-Earth.
In my Tao journal, I’ve been explaining the best training strategies to qi energy power for health, healing, stress relief and achieving high performance goals of any kind. My colleague Dan Kleiman of Qigong Radio had a few questions about the crossover into and the connection between nei gong energy arts and meditation. For those of you who don’t subscribe to my journal, I’ll provide a little context, and then you can listen to or download the interview by following the link offered below.
This 10-minute guided breathing exercise was recorded on my 2011 Crete retreat. It’s an easy breathing practice, particularly good for beginners, that covers some of the primary points you want to focus on when you come to sit.
Emancipation or freedom from slavery and bondage is ultimately what the human spirit craves. From the perspective of your spirit, slavery encompasses how the attachments in your life—such as sex, material items, money, power and all that they bring—prevent you from being free. Bondage has to do with the ways in which your ego (or collection of identities) and your karmic loops bind you into the reality you experience, and thereby limit your human growth.
So the question is: How can you free your spirit and, in so doing, realise your human potential?
Taoist Meditation for Beginners + Experienced Students
There are many approaches to meditation from traditional to New Age. Some methods focus purely on relaxation and the ability to reduce stress, whereas others seek to encompass the full spectrum of a spiritual path that can ultimately culminate in Enlightenment. The range, depth and focus of meditation is wide and varied, but all traditional forms agree that proficiency in meditation must be developed over time with dedicated and regular practice.