I have been more and more interested in Taoism and Zen over the past few years and up until recently was learning mainly from books which is clearly insufficient to gain insight beyond the intellectual.
Now I have found a teacher and am beginning to progress. However I have a question which I find difficult to over come in my daily life and in light of my knowledge of Tao.
Clearly Taoism is the philosophy of non-doing, of letting things be as they are. In Tai Chi and martial arts these are helpful concepts as cultivation of non-doing allows us to listen to ourselves and others which then allows greater insight into a given situationn without needless stress or tension.When we act we do so inaccordance with our deep mind and not through the distracting tendencies of the ego.
However, some forms of Taoism promote exercises and practices such as semen retention, strict dietry control and deep breathing in order to preserve life and cultivate energy.In fact, surely, in order to have any kind of practice or routine which one sticks to, a person must have at some point have removed themselves from the continual being of life and into the 'thinking about being' of life; that same secondary voice which removes us from the natural patterns of ourselves and our environment.
Often, as a relative novice in this Way, I find myself moving between the two extremes causing much tension. When I just let myself be I am concerned that I will contravene the many guidelines which allow my development. When I stick to the rules strictly I am concerned that I live in too artificial a manner, not just being but imposing my will onto my self and surroundings.
Can anybody advise on this bind??