Immortality Is Just a Kiss Away
Or, A Primer On The Varying Styles of Meditation
A person ought to have a good idea of what he/she hopes to attain from meditation before embarking on a practice. And knowing what ‘styles’ are out there, and how they benefit you, is the goal of this missive.
As an acupuncturist practicing in New York and Brooklyn, a meditation practice is invaluable. Certainly, meditating helps me handle the pressures of living in a time zone that is physically, emotionally and psychically demanding. Equally important, however, is that my practice allows me to remain a ‘cleaner’ vessel for healing, without bringing my ‘stuff’ into the session, the pins or even the workspace. Having utilized several types of mediation over the last three decades, I thought I would lay out the two very differing styles that I have had experience with: the Buddhist tradition and the Taoist tradition, (although there are many, many other methods that have nothing to do with either of these).
The first of these, the ‘Buddha method’, I did for twelve years. This form may entail reciting the names of Buddha, observing the mind, employing Zen technique, chanting mantras or utilizing visualization methods. These practitioners often suppose, as I did for many years, that mental cultivation is sufficient. As a consequence, physical transformations and bodily changes are—for the most part but not exclusively—ignored. That said, this method helped me greatly, and at times I still will go back to it.
Taoist meditation methods, on the other hand, place great emphasis on physical change. The focus is often on opening the so-called 8 Extraordinary Vessels, or Seas Of Energy, that, Asian Medicine tells us, circulate the human body. The goal of this practice is nothing less than to recover health and increase a person’s allotted lifespan through the Tao.
According to Taoist thought, if one knows how to cultivate only the mind—and being able to control our minds is a great undertaking—but does not integrate physical change in his/her practice, she is not fully partaking of the process. Taoists therefore criticize Buddhist methods as showing only the ‘cultivation of their nature’, and not ‘the cultivation of life’. Of course, there are Buddhist methods that focus on the physical, but they are more Yoga practices (Kundalini Yoga being just one of many wonderful systems).
Speaking purely from personal experience, I experienced physical transformation through Taoist meditation, while Buddhist style (my way was to repeat a Mantra) was wonderful for slipping into a ‘timeless zone’ that cleared out clutter from my over-amped mind. Even today, when exhausted I may simply wish to ‘zone out’. When wanting to work on my ‘longevity’ (and I am serious about that) then I will focus for long periods purely on Taoist style, which is currently my main method of meditation.
Bottom line? Whether one adheres to the Buddhist or the Taoist tradition of meditation, there is one issue that ought to be addressed: Know what you require, then ask if your method does what you need it to do. The answer will come to you—and, chances are, you won’t even have to meditate on it.
In my next post I will start you on the path toward…(drum roll, please:) Immortality.
Question: Are you ready?
Daniel at Blue Phoenix Wellness