How should I begin a meditation program?
My recommendation is to start with the foundation practices mentioned on this account. For instance, the Inner Smile and Six Healing Sounds, and see how you feel. After months of practicing those exercises, some stretching, and cleaner eating, you may want to stay with them or add the microcosmic orbit. After that, standing and tai chi practices are a great addition and help one to manage the energy developed thus far.
Regarding self-study versus finding a teacher, I will add that I spent five years learning from the Iron Shirt Chi Kung book of Master Chia. It is a great book and I still reference it regularly. However, one weekend with a Senior Healing Tao Instructor (Michael Winn) in his system helped me understand the practices in my body more than all the years of self-study.
If you can, find a teacher, have fun, and don’t forget to smile. If you do not have a certified Healing Tao instructor in your area, that is fine. A local tai chi, chi kung, yoga, or even most styles of martial arts will be helpful. These groups can also provide the community that is often needed to help an individual grow and flourish in their own personal goals. I’m talking about the healing, discipline, and energy aspects. (Self-defense isn’t covered on this blog.)
For personal healing, one can find a massage therapist, an acupuncturist or herbalist in their area. These methodologies help one to bring awareness into their own body. Eventually, one wants to take care of one’s own health, and external manipulation is just a treat for oneself and for basic maintenance.
Text adapted from The Alchemist’s Tao Te Ching:
Transforming Your Lead Into Gold