Taoism is the oldest religion in the world. Legend has it that Lao-Tzeu, the best known Taoist sage and perhaps the greatest, was transformed, or reincarnated in Sakyamuni Bouddha. The Tao-Te-Ching itself is in principle a political treatise and a theoretical exposition of Taoism, expressed according to the point of view of an enlightened being.
The formulation of practical and functional aspects was entrusted to other Taoist sages and it is in this way that the ancient Chinese masters perfected, (in addition to the basic spiritual doctrines and the philosophy of Taoism) innumerable techniques whose ultimate goal was to transform and immortalize the physical body.
On the other hand these techniques are known and implemented in the East for 6,000 years, but were ignored in the West until our time. The Internal Exercises constitute one of the four parts of the Taoist idea and rule system. The four levels of Taoism are the I Ching, Sexology, Regime and Internal Exercises.
THE I CHING
The I Ching is a method of wisdom that allows us to direct our daily actions. It includes astrology, philosophy and different prediction techniques. The study of the I Ching is divided into three parts:
- The first part studies the symbols or signs which represent the phenomena of parallel changes that occur in the entire universe. The phenomena of universal change are governed by exact laws defined by the different branches of mathematics – algebra, geometry, physics and genetics.
- The second part studies social philosophy and transactional psychology as they are represented in the 64 hexagrams. Each hexagram is composed of six lines of which each line represents a degree of development in individual or group transactions.
- The third part of the study involves concrete training to predict the facts.
Everything that happened will happen again and everything that will happen has already taken place. This can also be referred as; “To continue means to go far and to go far means to return”. If we understand the I Ching we will then be able to predict the future.
Taoism was the first religion that fully took human sexuality into account and presented it in such a way that individuals could use their sexual energy to transform themselves. Taoist sexology advises individuals so that they can enjoy sexual pleasure without getting exhausted. It explain how to strengthen sexual organs, use sexual energy to cure specific disorders, and informs about the different therapeutic sex positions, about natural birth control and eugenics.
The regime method is divided into three categories.
- The first corresponds to the diet of the food that explains in detail the best foods to ingest, the therapeutic properties of the different foods, and how to transform them into appetizing and flavorful dishes.
The diet includes a detailed analysis of the different ingredients contained in the food, the acid and alkaline elements, as well as the correct way to balance the vitamins, mineral salts and protein. This is because what we eat is very important; if we ingest poison, we die without any doubt.
- The second category corresponds to the regime of plants. A Chinese medicine proverb says that: “Food is a medicine and medicine should be food”. Even if you live according to the principles of the food regime, in spite of everything it is possible that the harmful bacteria develop inside the body. To solve this apparent dilemma, the ancient Taoists enunciated what is generally known as Chinese medicine for plants.
When plants are completely assimilated by the organism then its therapeutic value is unequaled as they are able to purify the body, act as antibiotics against microbes, and significantly increase our energy level and the duration of our life.
- The third category includes the energy regime. It is similar in nature to the breathing of energy. When the level of respiration of energy is reached, food and plants are no longer necessary because the body is directly powered by cosmic energy. Many examples illustrate this realization, but without a doubt the best known is the story of the forty days that Jesus spent in the desert. He abstained from food and water during that time, being fed directly by the Spirit, universal force or energy. Because the cosmic energy is the same as it is on Earth, on Mars or in the confines of the galaxy, the adepts of Taoism strive to transform and harmonize their body to the point that they can travel anywhere in the universe, and be fed with this energy scattered everywhere.
THE INTERNAL EXERCISES
The Internal Exercises are very opposed to external exercises. While external exercises such as swimming, boxing, wrestling, weightlifting, tennis, kung-fu and karate prevent certain number of diseases and premature aging. On the other hand, the Internal Exercises aim to stimulate the whole body, balance the level of energy and promote a more effective functioning of internal organs.
The Internal exercises express the art of spontaneous healing. If the laws of nature are transgressed, it will result in a disease.
The Internal Exercises are divided into three categories:
- a) The Stag Exercise is designed to produce and balance the secretions of the endocrine glands.
- b) The Exercise of the Crane is designed to strengthen the organs inside the trunk and promote a more regular functioning of these organs.
- c) The Turtle Exercise is designed to help the individual to strengthen, relax, and finally to control the nervous system completely.
The Meridian Meditation:
This is the second category of the Internal Exercises. The pathways through which energy circulates throughout the body are called meridians. The Meridian Meditation is therefore a technique whose purpose is to stimulate the current of energy along these pathways and at the same time balance the energy inside the body.
In affirming that man is the microcosm and that the universe is the macrocosm, we must go further and say that it is necessary to unify the two. Through meditation, the body, spirit and intelligence come together fully and consciously. In the next stage, the individual is stimulated totally and inseparably by the universal or cosmic energy. Following the initial training, Meridian Meditation requires six months to ten years of practice.
Cosmic Breathing or Breathing Energy:
This is the third category of the Internal Exercises. They are exercises that allow the absorption of energy by the acupuncture points that are on the meridians that cross the body. In everyday life energy is constantly consumed, so much energy is necessary to defend against weakness, illness and death. The Breathing of Energy thus constitutes a vital degree for the healing of oneself and forms an indissoluble bond with the energy that pervades the universe. The perfection of Energy Breathing requires, like Meridian Meditation, six months to ten years of practice.