Taoist Spiritual Path of the Immortal
Updated: May 7
There are three levels of stillness and movement. Normally, stillness is essence and movement is life.
With the body, we arrive at stillness within movement when we do something like tai chi while in a meditative state, and we achieve movement within stillness when we feel the energy moving in our bodies during sitting meditation.
In the mind, stillness is pure awareness, and movement is thought. In the beginning and for a long time, one must still the mind during meditation until a deep and constant state of non thinking is achieved. Later stillness increases little by little during daily activities. Once stillness of thought becomes permanently established in day to day activities then thought can return to stillness because it can no longer distract one out of stillness into un-stillness. This return of thought to stillness in thinking is the mind's stillness in movement, which is clarity.
Tai Chi is stillness in movement with the body. It is much harder to achieve stillness in movement of the mind.
Once mental clarity is achieved, then the hardest part of the Way becomes one's life long vocation, and this is stillness in movement in ethics, which is Te, or virtue. Te is the skillful maneuvering through life's situations with inner stillness. This is the true path that the other two prepare you for, and this is the stage of wisdom accumulation. immortality is achieved when the primary vital and motivational energies in a person are spontaneously aligned with conscience. That is, all your forces have been fused with the ethical in such a way that the motivation to do the right thing is even stronger than sexual arousal. Conscience is not cultivated by sitting alone on a mountain top. Wisdom needs to be cultivated through social interactions with others, which is sometimes called “Returning to the market”. Through this the highest form of sensitive alertness is achieved. A person's entire being becomes conscience and ethical competence. This is one's mutual identity with the Tao, of becoming one with the Tao. By lacking any power contrary to the Way, a person then has the power of the Way because of their complete interpenetration with the Way in ethical virtue and skill. This is the essence of an Immortal.
Essence becomes mutual identity with the Way, and life becomes the preserving and teaching the Way for the human. Stillness is identity with the Way, and life is immortality and ethical perfection.
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