Many spiritual traditions have a specific set of principles or in some cases dogmas that must be adhered to. Like Buddhism has specific precepts such as the four noble truths and the eight-fold path.
However, Taoism is known for its near lack of structure or dogma. Because of this, it can complement and enhance just about any other belief system without conflicting with it. The following are six of the main elements of Taoism that can complement any spiritual practice:
1. Elusive, Yet Everywhere
The book the Tao Te Ching begins: “The Tao that can be named is not the real Tao.” The Tao is considered the first cause of the Universe and is a fundamental force that flows through everything. There is no specific deity in Taoism – only the Tao, which is within all things.
2. Aligning and Flowing with the Energies of Life
Taoists are tuned in to the flow of Chi, or life force energy that emanates from The Tao. They strive to live in harmony with this flow and optimize its presence in their lives. They move and flow with life itself instead of trying to force or manipulate it. This is called “wu wei,” which means to let nature take its course. Just as rivers flow down mountains and into the ocean, we should work with the energies we encounter for an optimal life experience.
3. Cultivating Health and Vitality
Taoists have a commitment to living a healthy lifestyle that’s in harmony with nature. There is an energetic correlation between the components of the body and the five fundamental Chinese elements: earth, fire, wood, water and metal. Many Taoists practice Tai Chi, which works directly with life force energy to optimize its flow within the body and support vibrant health.
4. Time is Cyclical
Instead of adhering to rigid, regimented linear concepts of time, Taoists are tuned in to its cyclical nature. From the paths of the sun and moon to the flow of the seasons, nature is self-renewing. It is full of inspiring patterns that repeat endlessly, providing beauty, energy and inspiration for those who will look.
5. A Focus On Virtue
While Taoism is about aligning with nature, the goal of Taoist practice is virtue. The Three Jewels of Taoism are compassion, moderation and humility. Taoists are naturally kind and receive these energies back from the world around them.
6. All Paths Lead to Enlightenment
Since The Tao is within everyone and everything, all are destined for Enlightenment. Just as Buddha Nature is within all seekers, The Tao excludes no one. It is always available as a benevolent force for those who awaken to it, and whether in this lifetime or another, this Enlightenment is the destiny of us all.
Taoism is characterized by the yin/yang symbol, which signifies balance and harmony. Each swirling half contains the seed of its opposite. Anyone who strives to live in harmony with nature and life itself can benefit from Taoist ideals no matter what their primary spiritual path.