Unlike zen meditation, which often has an aim of achieving a state of “no-mind” (wuxin or mushin), tao meditation frequently draws focus to a precise mental imagery, with the aim of transporting yourself to a particular mindset.
Tao water meditation aims to transport one to the feeling of floating on the water, going with the flow and fully absorbing the world around you.
After meditation, careful consideration of how you feel during the journey, and a comparison to your current situation, can often reveal great insight.
Before meditation, find a kneeling or sitting position that you are comfortable with, and can focus your thoughts without physical distraction.
A good first one to try is the immortal position, which helps connect to your environment:
- While seated, bring your left heel into your pelvis, so that the sole of your foot is parallel with your right inner thigh. Balance your foot against your thigh so that the sole faces upward. Bring your right leg into your left leg, and also face the sole upward.
- This position is similar to the lotus position, but by turning our feet upward we push our knees into the floor. This can help ground us in our environment, fully absorbing our current surroundings.
Once comfortable, begin the meditation technique.
Water meditation technique:
- Close your eyes and breathe deeply (for breathing guidance, see our ki breathing technique).
- Imagine yourself floating gently on your back on the surface of a large, slowly-moving river. You feel the current moving your body as it flows, and you bob up and down along with the water as it moves you.
- Take notice of the clear blue sky above you, and several distinct clouds as they slowly drift by. Identify the shapes of the clouds as they flow past you.
- Feel the energy of the sun as it shines down upon you, filling your body with warmth and energy from your top.
- Conversely, you feel the coolness of the river below you. Take note of the difference between the hot and the cold, the yin and the yang of the sun above you and the water below. Observe how the sun heats you and brings you energy, and the water cools but also keeps you afloat.
- Allow yourself to let go and float freely, becoming one with both the sun and the water, the yin and the yang.
- When you open your eyes, try to maintain that feeling of being at one with the water and sun. You are flexible to your surroundings. You are adaptable to the elements around you. You are humble and appreciative of your surroundings.
You can meditate for as long as you feel comfortable, whether it’s just a few minutes or half an hour. Afterwards, retain the feeling of floating on the water and relate it to your current situation.
You can also put this mediation into practice: the next time you’re in a body of water, or even just a bath or shower, take a moment to feel the water and really take in your surroundings, noting the energy and effect it brings to your body.
When we think about doing something we don’t want to do, each step in the process can be a deterrent to our long-term goal. But when we think about doing something pleasant, like going to the beach or on vacation, we tend to go through the process without thinking about the individual steps.
The water meditation technique can be a quick transport to a calming environment that brings the mind to a specific place that we enjoy being. At MaArtial, we believe that just a few minutes can be enough to alter our perception and change a negative into a positive.
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