Meditation and Spiritual Growth
There are many types of Taoist meditation methods available here, and all of
them are more high energy than you will find in other traditions. There are
sitting, standing, and moving meditations that can be tailored to your condition
and goals. Following is a description of how meditation works to aid in
spiritual growth, and high energy meditations tend to make this happen faster.
Many of the people who talk about spiritual growth, spirituality, or spiritual
will often draw a blank when you try to pin them down for a definition of
it. I was one of them. I used to think it had something to do
with miraculous happenings, telepathy, synchronicity, a feeling of oneness
with god/universe/spirit, etc. Then I heard the best definition of
spiritual growth and intuitively realized it was correct.
The definition is this: Spiritual growth is emotional growth, being
spiritually advanced is being emotionally mature.
Emotional maturity is normaly dictated by a person's native character and
is the result of parental influence. The emotional growth due to parental
influence usually stop before a person reaches adulthood. It seems
that any additional spiritual growth or emotional growth after that point
is the result of meditation and here I will try to describe how meditation
works to cause this growth.
Left brain, right brain, patience and tolerance
Meditation has been shown scientifically to make the left brain
side more dominant than the right and this makes people more patient.
People who are more right side brain dominant have more of a tendancy
to react with anger to a situation in which left brain side dominant
people will have more of a tendancy to be patient.
It has been said that the opposite of love is impatience and this has a ring
of truth to it, unfortunately, since in our stressfull society which is so
full of appointments and deadlines, it is sometimes difficult to be patient.
Thinking versus awareness
When we are constantly thinking, which is what the untrained mind
does, we are separating ourselves from reality. The thinking either
prevents some perception or, if we think about what we perceived, we distort
it with the thought. This is because thinking is done with words and
words are a shallow substitute for a real experience. This is why it
is said that thinking separates us from reality.
Since thinking tends to obstruct our ability to observe things we find that
essentially thinking and awareness are mutually exclusive. The more
a person thinks, the less aware they are, the less they think, the more aware
Meditation causes emotional growth due to the introspection it causes.
In many systems meditation means thinking about things, but in Taoism
meditation means not thinking. We are supposed to not think and either
focus on the feeling of energy in the body or remain totally blank.
Stopping thinking is very difficult and anyone who tries will quickly
discover this. It takes many years, and little by little the spaces
between thoughts grows longer.
As we go through this process of trying to stop thinking but not succeeded
we end up reviewing our past actions. Things we said to people or things
they said to us, things we are thinking of saying to someone or things we
want to do or things we have done, the list seems endless. Sometimes
the same thought will occur over and over and over and that in itself can
be quite annoying when we are trying to stop thinking but it's best to bear
with it and keep at it because the results of meditation are truly worth
A lot of people don't spend much time examining their lives because they
are too busy; or, if they don't want to examine their lives they see to it
that they become too busy. Consumerism is an escape from reality in
It seems that everyone has some emotional responses which they learned in
childhood which may have served them well when they were children, but tend to
result in self sabotage when they are adults. In short, almost everyone
experiences some emotional pain from time to time, therefore they have an
emotional problem. Having an emotional problem doesn't mean a person is
crazy, it's just that if some action or reaction that we habitually have results
in emotional pain then it's a problem, an emotional problem. The common pre
meditation reaction is to blame the other person.
Facing your worst enemy
The increased awareness caused by meditation also extends to our emotions
and as we meditate more an interesting thing happens. Some emotional
difficulty that we were having previously will seem to get worse. This
is probably most likely due to two reasons, the first being that before we
didn't want to think about it, we wanted to avoid it, and the second is that
we become more sensitive. So whatever emotional difficulty we were
having will become worse and more annoying, more upsetting, and more infuriating.
When this happens then there are a couple of possible outcomes. The
most common is that the person will realize that it is due to their meditation
so they take the easy way out and quit. The other is that they will
continue to meditate but the increased annoyance due to the problem will
cause more self examination. This self examination results in us realizing
what we are doing that is causing the problem, we realize the original
motivations for it and we realize why it's not working.
It seems to me that the most important thing that happens is that the increased
annoyance provides the motivation to fix the problem. Very little happens
In a nutshell, meditation causes emotional growth because it will make
an emotional problem seem worse and that motivates us to fix the problem.
It's really as simple as that, but it takes bravery and persistence.
There is an analogy in the many myths of spiritual growth that tell
of a person going into a dark cave to face their worse fears. The hero
or heroine conquers the fear by entering the cave. There is some kind
of epic battle in the cave, and if the person wins then when they
come out of the cave they are changed people. More mature, leaders,
at peace, things like that.
So meditation includes a process, likened to entering a fearful cave, where we
get to do the scariest thing of all, to face our own worst enemy.
Please note: By no means is meditation always this white knuckle battle with our dark
side, most of the time it is a peaceful and rewarding experience in it's
own right. It's just that when this oportunity for emotional growth
presents itself it's good to know what is happening and to be prepared.
When you blend increased overall awareness with increased calmness and the increased
motivation to avoid emotional pain combined with the awareness of what is causing us
emotional pain then the end result is that we end up with emotional growth, which is also
There are many other aspects of meditation which include energy work, strengthening,
posture, bliss, breathing, etc.
The Long View