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Tao Te Ching - Explaining Why We Meditate

The Tao Te Ching was written thousands of years ago by a chap called Lau Tzu and is a collection of poems describing the Tao (spiritual way). It's a book that you can interpret on many levels, from philosophical to spiritual and also as a practical guide to meditation. As I've meditated over the years I've gone back to this book for inspiration and for entertainment from time to time. Verse twelve really describes why we "meditate".

The five colours blind the eye.
The five tones deafen the ears.
The five flavours dull the taste.
Racing and hunting madden the mind.
Precious things lead one astray.

Therefore the sage is guided by what he feels and not what he sees.
He lets go of that and chooses this.

It's wonderfully poetic isn't it!

So what does it specifically mean from a practical meditation perspective? Well this is my opinion. What it means to you will depend on what you've experienced so far in your own meditation.

The five colours blind the eye: is an interesting choice of words. There are 7 colours from red through to violet. These correspond to the 7 main chakras of the human energy system. Red is the base, indigo is the third eye and violet relates to the crown. Why did he say 5 colours and not 7? Well the first 5 colours are the lower centres or chakras:

1. Red - Base chakra - survival

2. Orange - Sacral chakra - creativity

3. Yellow - Solar plexus chakra - Sense of self

4. Green - Heart chakra - Loving

5. Blue - Throat chakra - Expression

The 6th main chakra is the third eye or brow chakra. This is the place we naturally find our attention drawn to when we meditate. He says "blind the eye" - did you notice he didn't say "blind the eyes". He is referring to our spiritual eye - the brow chakra. So what he's saying is that too much emphasis on the lower centres blinds our brow chakra.

Numerologically 5 symbolises confusion and man interacting with creation. We have 5 fingers and 5 toes, 5 senses too. 4 Represents limits and 6 represents creation, between limits and creation we find confusion.

How Does This Relate To Meditation?

It relates in two ways. Firstly it's saying that the act of meditation, where we turn our awareness inside and away from the world of the senses is necessary to become spiritually awake. Secondly the first line alone indicates that the brow chakra is important for our development. As you meditate, gently allow your awareness to rest in your brow. A hint is to relax your eyes as it's not about "looking" into the brow, rather it's about disolving into that space. When I teach classes I give practical guidance on how to fine tune this process and easily be more aware of the brow and other centres.

It's Not Just About the Brow.

From an enlightened perspective, all the chakras are important, and they are all transcended as we become more spiritually aligned. This transcendence is inclusive and so the lower centres are not shunned or denied, it's simply that we learn to move our attention into higher, non-personality based awareness.

All that's just the first line of the poem. What does the rest of this poem mean to you? The picture above is a photo I took of my copy of the Tau Te Ching in my meditation room at home. I've got many copies and have given away many more copies. This particular one is not in print anymore but my father found this copy at a boot fair! You never know where inspiration will come from! Thanks dad x
Ultimately it's only a book and what really has value is what you find out for yourself from your own meditation and insights. I'm happy to chat about this and any other philosophical/spiritual books with those I teach. it's great to contrast what you know to be true from your own meditation with what you can read from others.


Posted by Mark Zaretti at 22:18

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