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  • Writer's pictureAku Energija

The Art of Daoist Quiet Sitting: A Path to Inner Harmony

In a world that seems to spin faster with each passing day, finding moments of stillness and tranquility becomes increasingly vital for maintaining mental and physical well-being. Among the various practices aimed at cultivating inner peace and harmony, Daoist Quiet Sitting offers a pathway to inner calm, clarity, and spiritual strength. [Read more: Yin Yang philosophy and mental health]

Origins and Philosophy of Daoist Quiet Sitting

Daoism, one of the oldest philosophical traditions originating in China, emphasizes living in harmony with the natural order of the universe, known as the Dao (Tao). Central to Daoist philosophy is the concept of Wu Wei 無為, often translated as "effortless action" or "non-action." Wu Wei suggests aligning oneself with the flow of nature rather than resisting it or bending it to our will which demands excessive energy unnecessarily, thereby achieving a state of effortless harmony.

The Practice of Daoist Quiet Sitting

At its core, Daoist Quiet Sitting is about cultivating a state of profound inner stillness and presence. Unlike some forms of meditation that involve specific techniques or visualizations, Quiet Sitting encourages practitioners to simply be present in the moment, allowing thoughts and sensations to arise and pass without attachment or judgment.

The practice typically begins with finding a comfortable seated position, either on a cushion or chair, with the spine upright and the body relaxed. The eyes can be closed or left slightly open, depending on personal preference. The breath serves as an anchor for attention, with practitioners gently bringing their awareness to the natural rhythm of inhalation and exhalation.

As thoughts, emotions, and sensations arise during Quiet Sitting, practitioners are encouraged to observe them with detachment, allowing them to come and go like clouds passing through the sky. The goal is not to suppress or control these mental phenomena but to develop a spacious awareness that embraces the totality of experience without grasping or aversion.

Follow this step by step guide and be persistent with practicing

Stage 1

  • Sit in a comfortable position with your feet placed at your shoulder’s width, knee at 90 degree angel, lower back upright

  • Relax your shoulder, drop the elbows, rest the hands on your knees or on your lap.

  • Hang the eyelids. Eyes either slightly open or completely closed.

  • Tongue touches the upper palate.

  • Allow your breathing to be natural, and let the air flow downward and deep.

  • For beginners, one might need to practice on the proper sitting position first. Repeat the above steps, feel your joints and body position and adjust them. Use a camera or video to record yourself and check if the position is upright and relaxed.

Stage 2

  • Now begin the actual method of quiet sitting.

  • The ears listen to the center of the head.

  • The eyes rest lightly on the tip of the nose.

  • Then the gaze extends from the tip of the nose, down the front centerline of the body, to rest in the Dantian (lower elixir field), the navel region (area about 2 fingers width below the belly button).

  • Enter stillness. Allow any thoughts, emotions or extraneous concerns to dissipate naturally.

  • Sit in silence, maintaining awareness on the navel region, for 20-30 minutes (for beginners, you should always start with a shorter time but rather build the consistency, and then gradually increase the time).

  • After completing your meditation session, gradually open your eyes and return to sensory engagement.

  • Stretch and massage the body before standing up.

Benefits of Daoist Quiet Sitting

The benefits of Daoist Quiet Sitting extend beyond the realm of mental and emotional well-being, encompassing physical, energetic, and spiritual dimensions as well. Regular practice of Quiet Sitting has been associated with:

  1. Stress Reduction: By cultivating a state of deep relaxation and inner peace, Quiet Sitting can help alleviate stress and anxiety, promoting a sense of calm and equanimity in daily life.

  2. Clarity of Mind: Through the practice of non-interference with the natural flow of thoughts, Quiet Sitting can sharpen mental clarity and enhance cognitive function, leading to greater insight and creativity.

  3. Emotional Balance: By observing thoughts and emotions with detachment, practitioners develop greater emotional resilience and stability, reducing reactivity and impulsivity in interpersonal relationships.

  4. Physical Health: Studies have shown that regular meditation practice, including Quiet Sitting, can have a positive impact on physical health, including lowering blood pressure, improving immune function, and reducing inflammation.

Integration into Daily Life

One of the unique aspects of Daoist Quiet Sitting is its emphasis on integration into daily life. Rather than confining the practice to formal meditation sessions, Daoist practitioners seek to embody the principles of stillness and non-action in every moment, whether sitting in meditation, walking in nature, or engaging in daily tasks.

The practice of Quiet Sitting can serve as a touchstone for cultivating mindfulness and presence in all activities, helping practitioners navigate the challenges and complexities of modern life with grace and equanimity. By returning to the silent center within, individuals can tap into a source of inner strength and wisdom that transcends the transient fluctuations of external circumstances.

Embracing the Way of Stillness

In a world characterized by constant noise, distraction, and busyness, the ancient wisdom of Daoist Quiet Sitting offers a profound antidote—a return to the source of inner peace and harmony that resides within each of us. By embracing the Way of Stillness, we can cultivate a deeper connection to ourselves, to others, and to the vast mystery of existence itself. In the words of Laozi, the legendary sage of Daoism, "Silence is a source of great strength." Through the practice of Quiet Sitting, may we discover the transformative power of silence and awaken to the boundless depths of our true nature.

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