Get Grounded, With Some Taoist Breathing
Sit with your back straight, legs crossed, relax your body and close your eyes. While the standard way of breathing is to push the stomach out as you breathe in, in this Taoist technique you will start by pulling in your stomach muscles as you breathe in. As you breathe out, you release the stomach muscles. Practice 15 mins everyday. Progress by holding longer.
Grounding of the Heart is about shifting the way you think (dual) to oneness.
How Do We Move To Oneness?
Do a Yang-Breath twice before you continue reading (see Part I). Understand that the heart and the mind are deeply connected. A long time ago, Zen samurais knew that an ’empty mind’ is the same as an ’empty heart’ and as such brings a perfect state of being. These warriors became almost invincible. In that state of being you are in the state of oneness (Mushin state of samurais).
Empty does not mean ‘nothing’ understood in a binary way of thinking, but on the contrary, it means the state of all possibilities (quantum state). A great warrior knew that when you faced an opponent you do not differentiate yourself from him. On the contrary, you see yourself as one with him – that opens your reality and consciousness.
Being a human on earth is about stepping onto a journey to oneness. Are you ready for yours? I can suggest two ways:
- Start being aware of the way you think (mind).
- Open your heart.
Train Your Mind
I will use the Myoku metaphor of the Mountain of Enlightenment to illustrate the training of the mind. In a traditional way of thinking, we would certainly decide to climb-up the mountain as the top stands for enlightenment (duality of top/bottom). In so doing, we climb-up with our ego and against gravity, against the very nature of things (this is the binary view of life and ourselves).
We do not understand that the opposite is actually the right way to reach the top of the mountain; we need to follow the stream of water running down the mountain with no ego, no resistance against gravity, with a pure letting go of everything we believe in until we, as the stream of water, reach the pond at the foot of the mountain, and reach pure stillness of mind and heart (quantum/Zen view).
Only then can we truly find ourselves at the top of the mountain. Climbing-up reinforces the ego with its pride, expectations, and ignorance; climbing down like the stream of water is to let go of the ego and going ‘inward’. The journey down the mountain is a difficult one as you have to be like the stream of water:
- Fluid no matter the obstacles on your path.
- Full of chi, as you never give up.
- In harmony with nature, as you use gravity as a force to help you come down.
The journey ‘inward’ is a difficult one, but develops consciousness and peacefulness that are needed to reach the top of the mountain. In sum, when you climb your Mountain of Enlightenment always question what you take for granted in your life – dare to think reality differently.
Expand your mind and consciousness. Train your heart by following the stream of water running down the mountain, you actually ground yourself in a different way – you shift your mind to oneness. The Heart Chakra is the gate to a higher consciousness that makes you see and be in reality, nature and the universe in a unifying way.
In the end, when the Zen samurai held the sword, the power was not in the sword, but in the self that held it and became one with the sword. Our goal is to empower ourselves, to find our true self. So, whenever you are in a situation that creates conflict in you, remind yourself that you need to shift your mind and go with the stream of water running down the mountain.
Let go of the Ego! Everything else is an illusion, a creation of your binary mindset. There are obstacles in your path only if you force yourself to climb-up the mountain against gravity – gravity is your best ally. Gravity is the way you connect with earth (Root/Sacral Chakras) and heaven (Heart Chakra).
In order to be more present in your Grounding of the Heart Chakra, practice breathing differently. The breath connects mind-body and spirit. Re-read that sentence. By breathing more into the Heart Chakra you bring more consciousness there as well.
You do not breathe to bring calmness in you (although this is a result of that action), but to bring consciousness deeper in you so the perspective on the situation shifts automatically and you see more unity between yourself and the outside.
Taoist Breathing Technique
Here is a Taoist breathing exercise you can practice daily. You can use it as a meditation technique, or as a tool to help you refocus whenever you need to. This way of breathing brings expansion to your chest, and Heart Chakra as well as the Sacral/Root Chakra.
When you practice this Taoist technique of breathing, try to bring your focus into the heart, and just be there and aware of what is happening. Practice this technique as often as you can. Do not expect anything or any result – things do not come the way your binary mind thinks – just remain open to what comes to you.
- Sit with your back straight on a chair or on a mat. If on a mat, then cross your legs in a meditation position.
- Relax your whole body (particularly the shoulders) – try to be aware of where the tension is and drop the tension to the ground. Imagine that gravity is absorbing everything.
- Eyes closed, or simply fix a point in front of you with eyes half-closed.
- While the standard way of breathing is to push the stomach out as you breathe-in, in this Taoist technique you will start by-pulling in your stomach muscles as you breathe-in.
- As you breathe-out, you release the stomach muscles.
It is the opposite way of breathing in a standard way. If you have difficulties to pull in as you breathe-in, then pull in your stomach muscles as you breathe-out to the max, and hold it in that position with your next breath-in. You will feel your chest/heart section expand consequently.
Do not try to go too far if you have never done it before. Simply breathe-in gently and out by keeping the muscles in. The idea is to breathe-in and out slowly in order to bring more consciousness of the ‘Now’. Then, you see, feel and understand things differently – Oneness.
Practice this technique for 10 to 15 minutes, and even more if you are comfortable with it. At first, try to focus on the expansion of your chest with nothing else in your mind (’empty mind’). Just be present, in the ‘Now’. Make each cycle of breath long and comfortable.
As you grow more comfortable, you can go deeper in the breath-in by expanding your chest. If you feel dizzy, return to a normal breathing cycle before resuming the Taoist technique. Ideally, you should feel the expansion both in the heart and in the sacrum areas. If you do not feel both, do not worry – this is good as well. What is important here is the Heart Chakra.
You can explore the different facets of this Taoist technique by controlling the breath, following these 4 steps:
1. As you breathe-in, push the air softly towards the sacrum by using your stomach muscles as if you were going to the bathroom (keep the anus contracted!). This also grounds the lower chakras (first center of gravity). You may decide to do this if the chest breathing is too much at some point during the session. It balances the energy in your body.
2. As you do one breath-in, you can alternate between the chest and the sacrum – but your breath has to be long and deep – feel the difference.
3. You can simply enjoy the expansion of the chest as intended for the expansion of the consciousness, and oneness for the Heart Grounding.
4. Finally, you can even add a small mantra during the cycle of breath by saying it mentally: I am peace as you breathe-in, I am peace as you breathe-out. Again, keep your consciousness on your Heart Chakra.
Mindfulness is being aware/conscious of yourself and your surroundings in everything you do, whether alone, with people, eating, walking, etc. I do the Taoist breathing when I walk, when I stand on the train platform, when I watch a movie, or even when I am cooking. Just try to make it as a fun, little habit. Changes will happen to your mind, body and consciousness, I guarantee you that!
Do not expect anything in particular, just remain open –again, results never come the way our binary mind wants it. By now, you understand what that means and should smile to yourself whenever you realize you fall into that trap.
Grounding is essential both physically/energetically and spiritually. This article is about Grounding of the Heart (spiritual aspect) for 2016 and the years to come. Start your journey now, and for those who have already stepped into their journey, then deepen it this year.
Enjoy all the physical/energetic benefits of such a grounding technique, but first and foremost, understand that this is to help you shift your consciousness from duality to oneness.
Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.