Can you keep the unquiet physical soul from straying, hold fast to the Unity, and never quit it? Can you, when concentrating your breath, make it soft like that of a child? Can you wipe and cleanse your vision of the Mystery till all is without blur?Extract from Chapter 10 of the Dao De Jing by Lao Zi, a meditation from approximately 4th Century BC
How can something as simple as meditation be so difficult for us to do? Clearing our minds of clutter should not be that hard; we are not lifting anything physically, not running a marathon, not climbing a mountain. Yet the mountain in our minds can seem twice the size of Everest, and extremely hard to confront.
Most of us don’t want to let go of the unnecessary thoughts – we find it easier to de-clutter our homes, thinking it will have a positive effect on our mental well being. The brain can in some respects be compared to a muscle – with exercise it changes and gets stronger, but also to avoid fatigue it needs rest. While we are conscious of resting our biceps, our calves, our abs on alternate days of physical training, we rarely think about resting our minds.
Leave the complex behind for a few moments, close your eyes, breathe in white light, and breathe out the black smoke in your life. With every breath, bring a little more light into your mind. Keep on breathing the light until all you see is white, and you have pressed out all of the black smoke from your life.
Leaving the busy highway of the brain, and taking the long, slow path of meditation and mindfulness leads to an awakening of the senses; you learn to appreciate the most ordinary delights, they become beautiful in their simplicity.
Leave the complex behind for a few moments, close your eyes, breathe in white light, and breathe out the black smoke in your life. With every breath, bring a little more light into your mind. Keep on breathing the light until all you see is white, and you have pressed out all of the black smoke from your life. This simple meditation – it can be 5 minutes or 60 – is a wonderful way to start the day, to allow space in your life for the beauty of the day, to appreciate the sky, the earth, and humanity.
If we start the day by conditioning our bodies to be healthy, it makes sense to do the same with our minds, to make sure our brains continue to work at their best:
Learning consists in adding to one’s stock day by day;Extract from Chapter 48, Dao De Jing, Lao Zi
The practice of Tao consists in subtracting day by day,
Subtracting and yet again subtracting
Till one has reached inactivity.
But by this very inactivity
Everything can be activated.