Taoism & religion
So is Taoism a religion?
Emphatically not I would say.
Taoism is merely a very comprehensive system of psychophysical methods based on a very clear philosophical template. And what I mean by that is that you don’t have to have any belief and no leap of faith is required. You don’t have to pray. You don’t have to believe the Tao is bigger or better than you. If you need to believe anything you can believe it’s your friend. And you don’t have to worship in a state of reverence. To the contrary, you can be entirely yourself. If you want to spit on a picture of the Tao, if you could take one, it wouldn’t mind at all, it wouldn’t take it personally. The Tao is really the great flow of events and the primordial consciousness and energy informing the flow of events.
And I mean the flow of events throughout time and throughout space, so we’re talking quite a huge and in fact infinite, vast phenomenon here.
And the techniques teach you how, through your body, you start to serve more and more as kind of an antennae, or a conduit for the power, the motion of this Tao through you and therefore through your life. And when you do this it has the effect of making your life and all the things you do in your life, have value. Not just for you, but for everyone you interact with. It puts you in the flow of what you might call the greater good, or the good of the collective. It puts you into a collectivistic frame of mind.
Yet ironically, it renders you less and less susceptible to that base herd instinct which would otherwise encourage you to go with the herd even when they’re going wrong. So it gives you a kind of a strength in your individualism, yet simultaneously strengthens your urge towards collectivism, towards serving the greater good, towards playing your part more fully.
So if you believe in any other religion, or are a subscriber to any other religion, practicing the Taoist techniques in no ways runs counter to that, or interferes with it. To the contrary, it actually augments it.
Because if you know how to sit optimally within your skin, if you know how to occupy your body fully, how to be relaxed, how to breathe and how to position your consciousness inside your brain so that the noise stops inside of your head, imagine how much more effective your praying would be for example, imagine how much more powerful your service to humanity would be. And it really doesn’t matter what religion you look at, we’re all, in all the different practices around the world, seeking that one elusive factor, which is virtue if you want to call it that. It’s the truth of everything.
The Tao is what we’re talking about, whether you call it God, Allah, Buddha, Jesus, Christ, Zoroaster. I mean you could just on keep on going forever. It doesn’t matter what you call it.
It doesn’t matter at all.
You can call it love, you can call it awareness, you can call it whatever you like. We all know somehow what that feels like because we’re each an expression of it.
And the Taoist practice merely optimizes your ability to be that expression fully. It does this through tai chi, through qigong, it does it through acupuncture, it does it through practicing feng shui.
These are just to name a few of some of the more well known examples. It’s systems that occupy and engage body and mind simultaneously, and in doing so bring you in touch with that flow a little bit more every day. It makes you feel healthy, makes you feel strong, makes you feel cheerful, makes you feel that you can get along more easily with everyone at your work. That’s what Taoism’s all about, as opposed to being a religion.