Growing Virtue in the Body
Question: In your book, you said this is a system of growing virtue in the physical body. I would love for you to expound on that idea.
Thoughts: I have a few reasons why I say that Taoism is a system for growing virtue in the physical body. Virtue means the way positive emotions are demonstrated through behavior.
First, Classical Chinese Medicine believes that emotions are generated and stored in the organs. Specific emotions are related to specific organs. For instance, love can relate to the heart when the heart is healthy, but so can cruelty and hatred when the heart energy is blocked. Taoist practices like the Six Healing Sounds, the Inner Smile, and Fusion of the Five Elements involve meditations and movements to help the energy of the organs flow more freely. These practices help the organs produce kindness, love, stability, honesty, and gentleness. The presence of positive emotions in our inner experience manifests as positive virtues in the external world.
Second, ‘acting into right thinking’ is recommended for being a more virtuous person. For instance, if you want to be more selfless, start helping people and by these actions, over time you’ll become a kinder person. At the same time, if one practices inner spiritual cultivation, they will be meeting the goal of ‘becoming a better person’ halfway. By doing the inner work, it’s as if we’re reprogramming our operating code toward helping people. Over time, being a giving person becomes more natural, like a flower turning toward the sun. And, then we need to take it out of meditation and practice it in the world. It is said that love is verb because it implies action.
Finally, by storing positive emotions in the body, we are hard-writing virtuous habits. For instance, there are Taoist mediations that involve standing still to find one’s center and become calm. Over time, the nervous system and other systems reprogram their default connections to achieve what is practiced. As we consistently find our center in meditation, we more consistently find our center outside of mediation.
Learn more about these practices in: The Alchemist’s Tao Te Ching: Transforming Your Lead Into Gold. Print on demand and once again shipping in 2-3 days.