Tao: Means the "Path" or "Way"


Taoism philosophy has begun to weave its way into the Western way of life, be it in medicine, business, homes and our spiritual self’s. From Taoist teachings comes the idea of Tao and the Yin and Yang. Both of the principles are applied to

Chinese medicine, and business practices, physical and mental well-being, like through Tai-chi as well as brought into many western homes through the art of Feng Shui.

The Tao (pronounced “Dao”) means the “path” or “way.” It is the way of the universe, the way of human life and the way of ultimate reality. “All meditation and spiritual exercise leads to the Way. The Way does not refer to peace only during meditational practices; it applies to peace in your general outlook when dealing with daily life. When you have found the Way you can find peace in all things. Violence and hostility shall disappear from your being to be replaced by love for all things (Kei, 1973). The key to the Way is to find peace and meditation in everything you do, from cleaning the house, paying bills, putting in a day at the job, playing an instrument or spending time with your family. The thought here is that no matter what you do you might as well enjoy it.

From the way comes The Yin and Yang, it is a philosophy that describes all phenomena and processes in the universe. The well-known Chinese symbol that you see in print material, for example Tai Chi is used to illustrate this philosophy. The outside circle represents everything and the black and white shapes inside of the circle represent an interaction of two energies, known as yin and yang which causes everything to happen. “Yin is the dark, receptive “female” aspect and yang is the bright, assertive, “male” aspect. Wisdom lies in recognizing their ever-shifting, but regular and balanced, patterns and moving with them (Fisher, p. 141). Nothing in life is completely black or white and yet black and white cannot exist without each other. Yin and Yang is about balance and to achieve balance in our life we have to go with the push and pull that happens in our daily affairs, yet remain in the Way (calm) through it all.

Chinese medicine is a common practice here in the United States. Traditional Chinese medicine is comprised of acupuncture, massage, herbal and nutritional therapy, meditation and restorative physical exercises. Moreover, traditional Chinese medicine is based on the concept of vital energy, or qi that is believed to flow throughout the body. It is proposed to regulate a person’s spiritual, emotional, mental and physical balance and to be influenced by the opposing forces of yin and yang. Another way Tao has helped in the medical practices is to apply the Tao philosophy to recovery from addictions such as alcohol and drugs.

Tai Chi, also known as T'ai Chi Ch'uan is one of the practices used in the Taoism religion. It was founded by a monk of the Wu Tang Monastery named Chang San-feng. For many of the individuals who practice Tai Chi, the focus in doing them is not martial but as a meditative exercise of the body. It is also aimed to foster a calm and tranquil mind. Learning them correctly provides a learning avenue for such things as balance, alignment, and rhythm of movement. This will contribute to being able to better stand, walk, move, run in other spheres of life as well.

In conclusion, Chinese doctors will follow certain guidelines. In accordance with philosophy of the Tao, diagnosis is a process of perceiving signs and symptoms and relating them to one another to reveal how they form patterns of harmony or disharmony. Each symptom or sign has meaning only in relationship to other signs and symptoms and to the whole of your mind/body/spirit.

In the sixteenth century, European countries such as Portugal, the Netherlands, France, and the United Kingdom arrived as traders in India. The eventual British control of India was brought by the fall of the Mogul Empire. India was very religiously divided, between the Muslims and the Hindus. Mogul control in south India came under pressure with the increase of strong attacks by the Hindu rebels. Mogul leaders imposed taxes on Hindus, destroyed their temples, and forced them to convert to Islam. With the absence of a strong central authority, the provinces of India became increasing independent from the central authority both economically and politically.

Because of external influence, India modernized at the turn of the twentieth century. It was originally a long-established, traditional country. They were for the most part against British interference, due to their religious traditions and culture. Due to colonialism, their country turned upside down and back again. India transformed in many ways: politically, economically, socially, and technologically. India has also felt the stings of long-term effects of colonialism, and does today.
Despite their own internal conflict, they did not want to be controlled by the British. But at the Battle of Plassey, Britain proved its dominance. By 1865, India was under control of the East India Trading Company. The British felt they were more or less welcome until the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857-58. Its immediate cause was the cartridge for the new rifle, which had to be bitten before it was loaded. The deeper causes of the Mutiny were resentment over the Westernization of India and fear that native customs, religions, and social structures would be lost. In 1947, after the long campaign of civil disobedience led by the Mahatma Gandhi, England gave independence to the colony, and it was divided into India, an officially secular state with a largely Hindu population, and Pakistan, an officially Muslim state.

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