Taoism for the Mainstream
Bliss, Healing and Spirituality
The benefits of discovering spirituality
What is spirituality and why would you want it in your life?
There is an underlying pattern to all things, an innate consciousness that informs both the 'natural' world and the complex array of intertwining events of human society. It is discernible in the memory patterns of species. Witness the way a rose always grows like a rose. Whether this intelligence is thought of as a deity, a spirit, a set of mechanical reactions or an accident, its existence is irrefutable, whatever your inherited or adopted belief system. For the sake of argument, allow me to call it 'presence'. Perhaps too romantic for the hardened pragmatist or confirmed atheist to swallow, perhaps too vague for others who would prefer God, the Tao, Buddha, Christ or Great Spirit, but bear with me.
All spiritual paths (disciplines, religions and practices) are designed to raise and perpetuate awareness of this underlying pattern. Methods vary - praying, meditating, dancing, whirling, fasting, vision questing, etc. - but the desired goal is the same: consistent awareness of spirit, both within and around you.
Sounds plausible enough, but what does it do for you and how do you get some?
Adopting a spiritual discipline, whatever its flavor, requires you to be willing to trust in the essential benevolence of this ‘presence’. Once this suspension of normal belief systems, tantamount to a leap of faith, has been achieved (simply by choosing it), one sets about locating the nearest access point. For some, this is found in a church, for others it may be in a beautiful view, a sunset over the mountains, perhaps, for others, especially for followers of Oriental ways, it's through the temple of your physical body.
Metaphysically speaking, located within your body are access points along the spinal column, known to yogis as chakras (literally wheels which spin your consciousness to higher levels). Proper instruction in yoga or its equivalent is necessary in the long term, but the following is offered as a taster.
Imagine a line connecting the point between your eyebrows with the point at the center of the base of your skull. Imagine a second line connecting one ear to the other. Where these two imaginary lines intersect is the approximate region of your pineal gland, commonly known as your 'third eye’ or ‘original cavity of spirit’.
(After reading this) close your eyes for a moment, concentrate and gather your awareness into this point. Simply gaze from here into the mysterious darkness between and behind your eyes. Relax your body, especially your breathing, and allow yourself a few moments of undisturbed awareness of ‘presence’ within and all around you stretching out in all directions into infinity. This momentary experience of the unity of mind, body and spirit, if repeated daily, will, within a short while, afford you direct easy access to the so-called spiritual realms. This you can carry with you during work, rest and play. A technique common to all spiritual paths, it will in no way put you in conflict with any religious practices you already follow, whether it be praying, t’ai chi, yoga or tango dancing.
The real advantage becomes apparent when you find yourself able to remain fully aware of ‘presence’ while simultaneously engaged in the thick of worldly pursuits. With it, you will soon acquire a grand enough perspective of existence to be able both to cope with the disappointments and pain of life with equanimity and to optimize your appreciation of the gift in each passing moment. And pass they do. Don’t waste any time. Try it now.