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A Personal Tao – A Midlife Journey

The Tao of Midlife A Personal Tao is a Taoist book exploring midlife and living in the modern world. It’s about how to apply Taoist ideals simply and modestly one…
Romance

A Romance to Last Forever

They spoil every romance by trying to make it last forever. Oscar Wilde A Lasting Love Oscar Wilde had a very Taoist attitude when it came to relationships. Sustainable love…
Tao - Yin Yang of Life

A Taoist View Of Modern Politics

It has been a busy crazy few years that is for sure. Internationally quite a bit is happening and it’s a time of change. It’s up to each person to…
Spiritual Resources

Additional Books and Resources

TaoismShamanicMidlife Crisis ResourcesMovement MeditationOther ResourcesTaoismBelow are Taoist resources we’ve used for years and recommend.Let us know if you have questions about which Taoist resources may serve you on your path.…

Personal Tao Blog Posts

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Amnesty and Freedom

Amnesty

A dear friend offered the word amnesty to me as a gift suggesting I grant myself amnesty.    I took it on and have found that granting myself personal amnesty…
Moving into the light and church

Angels, Saints and Holy Days

Angels, Bodhisattva, and Immortals. Angel: An extension of God that works to make others whole. – From Zoroastrianism and Abrahamic Religions Bodhisattva: A human striving in compassion to help teach…
Maturity Youth and Growing Older

Being Mature – Exploring Maturity

Maturity A simple truth. Maturing is a never-ending process. People think being an adult is the peak of being mature, and yet, we never stop maturing and changing. However, people…

Teachings: How to Learn

The western education process is very literal and linear. Modern culture works to fit everyone into narrow boxes of a socially approved litany.  Taoism and Shamanism are neither linear nor literal but are experiential. Western students often fail to come to an understanding of Taoism / Shamanism due to this different approach. The other trap is that students will try to limit how they hold Taoist/Shamanic teachings down to a single thread of a more extensive practice.

Julie and I have to deal with these common questions:

  • “What is real Taoist history?”
  • “What is the core of Shamanism?”

Many histories, variations, and teachings of Taoism and Shamanism exist.

In teaching Taoism / Shamanism, we first explain that history is like any other story. History isn’t about truth; it’s about what you learn from the story to become greater and to live more gracefully (by not making the same mistakes over and over again). History is a form of social genetics which can give us a baseline to work from in society.

Learn from all the stories.

Always let how you hold history help you move forward with more ideas to test out rather than holding only one truth.

After I explain this, I then give students an exercise. Write a paper on Taoist history or Shamanism and then write down as many different variations of the teachings that capture their attention. From this lesson, you will uncover many variations of Taoism and Shamanism.

This first lesson opens up a student’s eyes to see the many variations of stories people pass for Taoism or Shamanism.  At this point, Julie and I spend time filling in gaps missed, since Taoist and Shamanic history has many stories to tell.

Don’t reconcile all the variations of Taoist and Shamanic teachings down to a single truth. Allow for the contradictions to exist and use even the contradictions you find to help explore life more deeply.

Then we begin the real teachings:

What aspect of learning connects to your heart?

What is it that you need to compliment your life to move more gracefully?

The fact is much of Taoist or Shamanic teachings are focused on opening awareness, releasing preconceived forms, expanding your options and then live a fuller life.

It’s acceptable to have several histories, multiple practices and countless teachings in your pocket to explore.  Generally speaking, history is more for lessons than for truth. Don’t ignore your history, stories, and lineages yet also don’t let them limit you either. Learning is always a path to climb and explore.

When approaching Taoism or Shamanism from a lineage aspect then hold true to respecting your ancestors as teachers. But again don’t let any teacher past or present blind you to modern realities.

While to only focus on the future is to repeat mistakes, to focus too much on the past will blind one from their future.

Practice vs. History

People often try another angle to explain Taoism / Shamanism. People try to limit the teachings to the practices rather than history.

Taoism isn’t its practices!

However, Taoists have a huge selection of practices to choose from in life. Many practices which might not have started as Taoist have over time gotten associated with Taoism. So it’s hard to sort out what can be considered primarily a Taoist practice at times.

Likewise, in Shamanism there exist many variations of practice geared to helping a person connect to spirit.

  • Generally speaking, most Taoist practices are geared at helping a person live a more graceful/compassionate/full life.
  • Generally speaking, most Shamanic practices are geared at helping a person explore their spiritual nature.

Taoism vs. Shamanism

From my perspective: Taoism historically is a subset of Shamanism that grew into its own religion and philosophy. As a result, each is quite vast; each has its separate areas of concentration. Each is still very much connected. Even though I happen to be a Taoist, whenever I go to share in a shamanic ritual it is very deeply familiar and connected to me as a Taoist. Whenever Julie explores her shamanic teaching, she resonates with my Taoist practice very clearly.

Taoism and Shamanism are connected and separate at the same time.

The teachings Julie and I offer include Qi Gong, shamanic practices, dance, healing practices, relationship practices, meditation, awareness, business management, how to read potential in various forms. However, we do also use modern practices as much as ancient ones to assist in a person’s education since:

  • To be a Taoist or a Shaman today: Is still to live in our times now.

Mix and match your teachings to flow with the spirit of your life.

Smile when anyone tries to define a perfect history or a complete practice for you. Discover what you are researching is also expanding your awareness of what is around you. This will allow you to discover many variations of answers that will be useful for you.

History and practice will always shift to match your nature, to match your nature the other way around is to limit oneself down to missing most of what is happening in life.

Enjoy ;)

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