We hope you are all safe, healthy, and taking good care of yourselves and your communities.
We’re not experts on public health or economic challenges, but Taoism does have a lot to share about responding to the changes and turmoil of life in a way that can lead to greater peace and clarity.
So we wanted to reach out with some ideas and resources to help lower stress and anxiety, calm the nervous system, and even use this crisis as a path to deepen spiritual connection.
Chanting and Scripture
It is so important to feel a spiritual connection and protection in times like these. The world, and we personally, all need a spiritual connection if all is going to be well. For those who know the Great Compassion Mantra, it would be very helpful to recite it repeatedly each day.
If you don’t know the mantra, just chanting Guan Yin’s full name throughout the day— Na Mo Da Bei Guan Shi Yin Pu Sa—or just Guan Shi Yin, can help refocus the mind and soothe the nervous system.
The Clarity and Tranquility Scripture and the Protection of Life Scripture can also be helpful.
Prioritizing meditation is one of the best things you can do right now because 30 minutes of meditation per day is proven to reduce the size of the amygdala, the primal part of the brain that registers threat and puts us into the fight or flight mode of our nervous system. When we operate out of this mode over a prolonged period of time, it lowers our immune system and begins to create health problems.
Since this is an ongoing situation, our primal brain is going to keep signaling to us “there’s a threat” and gearing up the fight or flight response. We need to use our prefrontal cortex (the more evolved part of our brain) to acknowledge, accept, and respond to that signal. Meditation is one of the best ways to do this. It helps us reconnect to the deepest part of ourselves, our spirit, which is eternal and not at risk.
From that place, we can acknowledge our feelings, allow ourselves to feel them, and offer ourselves presence and compassion. Meditation has a cumulative effect, so with consistent practice over time, your nervous system will shift from “fight or flight” to “rest and digest” mode more of the time.
If you are new to meditation or haven’t gotten into the habit of it yet, most people find that it’s easiest if they do it at the same time every day, usually first thing in the morning or last thing before bed, or both. You can check out the meditation section of the Sanctuary of Tao’s website library for guidelines if you would like to begin a practice.
This is a good time to increase your practice of Tai Chi, Qigong, Eight Brocades, or Internal Alchemy, especially with the extra time you may have on your hands.
If you are new to Taoist practices and would like to start a Qigong practice, we have a simple, short practice you can follow in the free library section of our website, which may help you feel a sense of calm, and with consistent practice can improve your health.
One specific practice that would be especially beneficial to add to your daily practice is the Six Healing Sounds, which helps protect, tonify, and heal your internal organs, including the lungs.
Lily, one of the Sanctuary of Tao staff members, has created an e-booklet on Mindfulness and Self-Compassion for Stress-Relief that we hope may help you connect with yourself and feel more balanced as we move through this unprecedented time.