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                              jizo2small.gif (7363 bytes)   Self-cultivation

In the journey of our life, we often come to a point where we have to decide which road or direction to take next. However, there are usually more than just two choices, which make it rather difficult to pick the "right" path. Some roads are even and smooth, while others are rough and curvy. There are also side roads that are shorter but then you also run the risk of getting lost in the trail. Some roads may even loop you around, taking you back to where you have started. Although all paths will eventually lead you to the Destination, it is very important to pick the road that best suits you, so that you can make progress toward the goal of enlightenment: the beginning of true understanding.
But how does self-cultivation help us in choosing our path? From self-cultivation comes self-knowledge. You learn about yourself and your surrounding. Understanding who you are and what you want. Thus, helping you to decide which path is right for you. In this process of personal development, you don't blindly follow direction that will take you nowhere. But rather, you center yourself first, before finding your direction, a direction that will lead you to progression.
Taoists see the human body as a vehicle, a tool that we can learn and benefit from. It is through this body that we can "open our understanding", or enlightenment. Taoists also believe that the human body is a duplicate of the universe. All the truths and laws about the universe can also be found here in our body. The universe within our body is called the Microcosmic. So Taoists conclude that the way to learn about the universe is to look inside our body, and the way to understand more about our body is to observe the universe, the Tao.
Our body is a very important tool, because it is through this body we can physically interact and learn from this world. But often, many teachings emphasize on sudden enlightenment. Some teach transcendental meditations that emphasize on "out of body" experience by sending large amounts of energy to the higher chakras by arousing the Kundalini. But they often ignore the important of the physical body by arousing the Kundalini too quickly and prematurely. If the body is not healthy, strong and prepared, the foundation is lacking. When the foundation is weak, the body simply can not handle such a heavy load of energy. The Kundalini energy will burn through each center as it travels upward to higher centers, consuming your energy and leaving you with unwanted side effects, known as the Kundalini Syndrome.
To build a solid foundation, we must begin to understand our body. First, we need to relearn our body's own language. Our body always tries to communicate with us subtlety, but we often ignore it. And when attention is much needed in our body, it signals us with sensation such as local pain and headache. However we will try to tell the body to "shut up" by taking drugs like pain reliever, then thinking that the body is fine now because it is not complaining anymore. In order to re-establish our communication link to our body, we must turn inward, paying attention to every subtle change in our body. Internal arts such as chi kung and microcosmic meditation can help us in achieving that establishment.


research links: Taoism,

Taoist philosophy,

Tao Te Ching,

Taoist stories,

recommended reading about kundalini syndrome:

Kundalini Experience: Psychosis or Transcendence?

Stalking the Wild Pendulum: On the Mechanics of Consciousness



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