I believe that this is an important subject because after studying many types of philosophies, I have come to believe that Taoism offers a very special gift to those seeking spiritual enlightenment.
However, after studying Taoism, it’s easy to see how there are many conflicting points of view when it comes to integrating a Taoist lifestyle along with a lifestyle that nurtures masculine values such as strength, courage, ambition, self-discipline, hand-to-hand combat, and more.
An example of a conflicting idea is the Taoist concept of taking the path of least resistance, going with the flow, and taking on a passive almost feminine approach to life.
Hence why Lao Tzu says to “know the masculine but keep to the feminine.”
In many ways, this conflict reflects the general conflict between the western world and the eastern world. In western culture, financial success, ambition, social status, and material gain seem to be of utmost cultural importance. This is what the western dominance hierarchy tends to value.
In eastern culture, we see different values: There is more emphasis on taking things slow, yoga, meditation, and other practices that emphasize the spiritual development of an individual. Obviously, the western world is taking over as more and more countries become “1st world” and industrial development takes place.
So how does one balance these two?
First of all,
I enjoy and see tremendous value in:
- Developing myself as a man and warrior.
- Training my body and mind for peak performance.
- Learning how to fight and win.
- Being an ambitious entrepreneur and building businesses.
- Creating financial abundance.
- Enjoying high social status.
- Being patriotic.
- Living a lifestyle with a comfortable home and vehicle(s).
These are all arguably masculine values although women can and should engage in some of these to varying degrees. Remember: This isn’t black and white.
But here’s where Taoism comes in…
It reminds you that you don’t need any of the things I mentioned. It reminds you that your nature is very simple to satisfy. It reminds you that everything you need is within you right now to be free, joyful and aligned with God. It reminds you that this moment is enough…that life exists for this moment.
And I prove this to myself by routinely taking time to simply be free…in solitude and in silence…and in those moments I feel truly fulfilled. All the things I mentioned above are simply bonuses to a man of Tao for he fundamentally needs little to be fulfilled as his connection to Tao brings him more than enough joy.
Another thing to consider when it comes to integrating these ideas is to break up your life in phases. If you’re a young man then you may very well prefer to focus on building your foundation in life. Then once you get older, you can take more time to dedicate yourself to aligning with Tao. In fact, this is what many cultures do in the East including China where the Tao originated!
But it doesn’t have to be so black and white either. Being a young man, you can also take some time every day to nurture a more conscious connection to Tao by simply becoming very present and alert to this moment. You can do it through meditation. You can do it in many different ways…ways that may very well be unique to you for after all you have your own divine connection to Tao so who am I to give you exact guidelines?
This quote by Carlos Castaneda comes to mind:
“A warrior-hunter deals intimately with his world, and yet he is inaccessible to that same world. He taps it lightly, stays for as long as he needs to, and then swiftly moves away, leaving hardly a mark.”
How I interpret this quote is that a man can go into the world and engage it in a masculine way for a while by building a business for example. But once he has attained a certain revenue goal, he retreats. He simplifies his life and takes time to simply be present and aligned with nature for a while. This can take form in many ways. But the point is that it’s a type of back and forth.
Taoism is in many ways about balance which is why it uses the Yin and Yang symbol. It’s not about throwing everything out and living in the here and now but it’s also not about accumulating material possessions for no good reason and over-stressing your system. It’s about listening to nature. And nature can be very aggressive and also very soothing. It’s the union of the opposites.
I’ll be writing more on this subject as I believe it’s of immense value. Hope ya’ll enjoyed it!
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