taoism

Pusher - the E.T.

Creating EDM all the time

What I love (creating tracks like Pusher – the E.T.)

Creating music like Pusher – the E.T. is my passion. There is only one other thing that I like to do as much as make music and that is practicing yoga. The two are very equal in my mind. Kind of like opposite ends of a coin. Music is a huge reason that I have been identifying to heavily with Taoism.

The two arts  have many similarities, and in my experience they occupy kind of the same space. Actually, let’s include teaching yoga in that list, even though teaching yoga feels like much more work than either music or practicing yoga. All three help me to hone my creativity into passions that help me to grow as an individual. My music is in its adolescence, but my yoga is pretty mature (after nearly a decade of practicing). Teaching is becoming more and more of a rock for my mind to output creativity, though it is very taxing and it requires tons of energy.

Making music all the time

Sitting down in front of a computer for 8 hours and just writing music for that entire time has become somewhat second nature to me. I’ve even started going all day, for about 12 hours, though its pretty much impossible to do multiple days of that in a row and still make a quality end-product. I feel like that hard work will make my success inevitable, my sound will just be so polished and powerful.

Recently I bought some new software that I am very excited to use in all of my productions. I am working towards a new computer that is ultra fast. But really, nothing holds me back from pursuing the dreamy kind of soundscapy electro bass house that I’ve always loved. Now, I can do it my way, in my own style.

My latest music video for Pusher is a good example of a track that is perfect for a 3D immersive video experience, but I don’t yet have 3D software. I did my best with Magic Visualizer and this is the result, let me know what you think of it!

Pusher – the E.T. (music video)

The E.T. is is creating tons of new music

I also have several other tracks that I am really looking forward to releasing! I’ve sent some to labels, but I think I am going to plan on releasing the album around 9/1. I am trying to get full artwork created for all of the tracks, so here’s to collaborating with other artists! Also, I am making a collaborative track with Beefus B. Stoked on it, his sound is ultra unique.

Also, I am participating in this contest thing with Bruce Lee lyrics. My track is almost composed, just working on the bass for the drops. Check out the trailer, its hilarious: www.youtube.com/watch?v=GNiY01C75xg

Check back soon for more yoga, music, and updates about my art.

Download & Stream my latest track, Pusher below:

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Tao, symbol of Taoism

Taoism Can Lead Humanity into the Future

The TaoThe Chinese Symbol for Taoism

Taoism, or the practice of recognizing the Tao also sometimes called the Dao, is an ancient Chinese religious tradition that emphasizes living in harmony with the essence of nature or the Tao. The Tao is usually described as a way of life that is natural, primordial, or in alignment with ease, health, challenge, and comfort as a method of life. It embraces all aspects of life and invites its practitioners to enjoy the experiences fully. The Tao is at its essence paradoxical because of its dual nature, even describing it is futile because the concept is beyond words. It is an experience rather than a description; indeed the entire collection of work on the Tao is paradoxical. Taoism paved the way for Zen Buddhism and various other forms of Eastern spirituality to develop and thrive in the ancient Orient.

The Way of the Tao

The Tao is nameless, eternal, unchanging, and cannot be understood except through experience of the Tao. Words are not adequate to describe the concept by nature as the concept is itself nature. The Tao is a path. It is life. It is fundamental to the universe and all of humanity. The tradition comes from ancient China where it fused with Buddhism over time and countered the more traditional and strict Confucianism. Buddhism and Neo-Taosim are known to be closely related by most religions. What the Tao really means is the force behind all things, a universal god, or the unmoved mover of the universe.

 

The Teachers of Taoism

There are two primary teachers of Taoism, though both are acknowledged to be compilations of multiple authors over time. Lao Tse is the first and he is generally regarded as the founder, though he was a contemporary to another very well-known Taoist founder who helped to propagate the religion. The second teacher was Zhuangzi who wrote a text about the carefree nature of a Taoist teacher, named after himself. Both had a profound effect upon the Taoist tradition, but Zhuangzi was more instrumental in the actual applications of the philosophies outlined by Lao Tse.

Lao Tse or Laozi wrote a legendary book called the Dao Te Ching and is considered the philosophical founder of Taoism. Throughout history, his work has been embraced by anti-authoritarian movements. Recently, historians have established that the Tao Te Ching was actually written by many hands, but Alan Watts, a famous Zen Buddhist, cautioned against this thinking stating that skepticism was easier than reviewing a lack of data and evidence. Different Stories about Lao Tse exist in different cultures with their own flavor of the philosophical traditions of Taoism.

The Harmonic Philosophy of Tao

The Tao is the life-force that flows within all of the universe and all of matter. It is conscious, though incomprehensible to the human mind. It is therefore, not our responsibility, or even possible, to grasp the nature of the Tao. We can simply glimpse it. It is like looking through the window of a house that you can never enter.

Taoism believe strongly in the union and magnetism of opposites; The Yin Yang symbolizes this in light and dark opposition meeting in a common center. This is a metaphor for all of Taoism, showing that opposites are really the same and showing a path of living through balance of these opposing forces. For instance, rest and activity, work and family, sleep and waking, etc.

Taoism believes strongly in acting according to one’s nature and using guiding moral principles to achieve and maintain a peaceful and harmonious mind. This means living in harmony with the environment and the natural systems in place around you. Most Taoist teachers will also have a tinge of environmentalists simply because they are so in tune with their own environment.

Taoism and the Future of Humanity

 

At the beginning of the article, I made a bold claim that Taoism can and SHOULD lead humanity into the future. We care too much about how we look, if we are doing things right, about the state of the world we live in. We need to learn to let go and enjoy the experience in front of us with all of the difficulties and opportunities to grow that it brings. Taoist principles will allow humans to move back to a more natural state, rather than suburban living in concrete jungles and living in complete isolation from our natural environment. Symbiotic living is the only kind of living that exists in this world.

Taoist Rituals

Taoist rituals are meant to bring peace and harmony to the participant and the universe. They emphasize the nature of opposites and the union of all things. Many focus on purification. Priests often accept offerings on behalf of deities to balance the forces in the entire town or village. Many rituals also involve the priests partaking in meditation, chanting, playing instruments, and dancing. They also participate in fortune-telling and organization of sacred buildings and spaces according to the astrological significance and using Feng shui mathematical models to create harmony in their architecture and landscaping. All rituals emphasize order and balance.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this article on Taoism and modern implications for all of us humans! Please send any questions or additions in the comments, we can all learn from each other.

References

  1. Stanford Encyclopedia
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taoism
  3. http://personaltao.com/teachings/taoism/taoism-101/
  4. http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/taoism/
  5. http://www.chebucto.ns.ca/Philosophy/Taichi/taoism.html

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"Konfuzius-laozi" by Shih K'ang - http://www2.kenyon.edu/Depts/Religion/Fac/Adler/Reln471/pix.htm. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Konfuzius-laozi.jpg#/media/File:Konfuzius-LaoTse.jpg

Lao Tse | 李耳 – The Founder of the Philosophy of Taoism

Lao Tse, The First Taoist

Lao Tse, Laozi, Lao-Tzu, Lao-Tze, or Laozi was a philosopher and poet in ancient China who is best known for founding Taoism by writing the Tao Te Ching. He is a deity in certain traditions and probably lived around 4-500 BCE, but is often dated to the time of Confucius  at 600 BCE. Lao Tse is one of the great teachers and influencers of early eastern philosophy and helped to give foundation to the great traditions of the East. He famously said, “Be still like the mountain and flow like a great river.” (his work is riddled with allegory and word plays)

Lao Tse is a title meaning “venerable” “master. Many scholars argue that he was many people rather than one, but most ancient texts mention him in 600 BCE. The first copy of the Tao Te Ching is from 400 BCE. In any case, Lao Tse is said to have spent his life revealing the Tao. Much of his work after his death was used by anti-authoritarian establishments throughout history.

Er Li was a scholar and Alan Watts believes that he was the man that we know as the great master, but other scholars have argued that the figure of Lao Tse must have been many people. He was mentioned by several historical texts after his death.

According to tradition, Laozi studied in the royal court of Zhou and attracted large numbers of people, legends tell of an encounter with Confucius, but Lao Tse never opened a school.

One story says that Laozi is a hermit who lived in the woods until he was 160 years old. One day he was stopped by Yinxi at a gate and Yinxi asked Laozi to record his wisdom. He wrote the Tao Te Ching in response. Many stories then tell of Laozi traveling all the way to India to teach the Buddha. Some say that he was the Buddha.

The Tao Te Ching is one of the most powerful works in Chinese history. It describes the Tao as the source and ideal of all existence and all of nature flows from it, so when humans defy their nature, they separate themselves from the flow of the Tao.

Laozi said that technology brings about a false sense of progress and taught about a method of existence called Wu-Wei, or non-action. What it really means is flowing with the moment, not forcing, acting spontaneously, not doing anything, or creating nothingness.

Zhuangzi was Laozi’s disciple and was a central authority to monastic life amongst normal populations and drifting anonymously though society. Some modern politicians think that Laozi was the first libertarian, believing that people should be allowed to govern themselves loosely and without much governmental structure.

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Laozi

Taoism and Modern Yoga

In Westernized yoga, there appears to have been a bit of a confounding of eastern traditions in regards to their application in yogic philosophy. We tend to mix up Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, even Jainism and put them all into the same category of “mindfulness” aimed towards stress reduction and happier, more meaningful living. Not that mindfulness isn’t an appropriate subject, but I think it can be important to differentiate between the Eastern religions especially to understand their unique, individual philosophies.

Yoga doesn’t really have a category. Traditional yoga is very similar to Buddhism, but the yoga sutras of Patanjali seem to be the most authentic “yogic” teachings from a historical perspective. Many scholars would also agree that Patanjali’s sutras are heavily influenced by Buddhism. Ujjayi breathing is influenced by Taoist practices and many of the meditational practices in yoga come from Jain and Buddhist traditions.

Most modern yoga teachers seem to be most influenced by Buddhism when teaching, focusing on concepts of Dharana and Dhyana for meditation that are the same in buddhist texts.  Many bring modern science and anatomy into the practice which is a more efficient way to practice because it allows us to understand what is happening while we are performing asanas. With these tools we can avoid injury and progress safely into a fuller and easier practice.

Buddhism teaches that at the center of all things is peace, which is a bit different from the Hindu belief that all things have a divine core. The yoga sutras of Patanjali seem to be more influenced by the Hindu side of things and his concepts in the 8 limbs of yoga support a divine core of all beings. However, the Buddhist state of Nirvana and the Hindu state of Samadhi seem to be very similar conceptually.

Most modern yoga is geared towards balancing the body not necessarily towards complete purification. This is because the whole body purification is more of a youthful activity, it requires a lot more effort once you are older and the body is increasingly more toxic with age (at least as a general rule). Aging well in a yoga practice is not necessarily aligned with yang style of ashtanga or Bikram yoga, but rather a combination of Yin and Yang style of exercises. In this way, modern yoga is more Taoist than Buddhist or Hindu.

The yoga sutras are undoubtedly Hindu, but they borrow many buddhist teachings and concepts. The past of yoga, Hinduism, and Buddhism seem to be vastly intertwined with the rest of the eastern traditions, most notably Taoism to produce a modern hybrid western style of yoga. Patanjali’s famous quote to still the fluctuations of the mind might be very similar to finding Lao Tzu’s Tao. It is important to remember that eastern traditions tend to be less ordered and regimented than western religions because the religions tend to cross over into each other. If you get a chance to read Patanjali’s yoga sutras then enjoy searching for the different influences of the texts.

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ujjayi breathing

Ujjayi Breathing – The Victorious Yogic Breath

The “Victorious” Breath

That changes in respiration that occur during a yoga practice might be the greatest benefit of yoga. Deep breathing using a technique such as the Ujjayi breathing technique can relieve stress and toxicity from the heart and the entire circulatory system. Ujjayi breathing specifically relaxes the body through diaphragmatic breathing meaning that air travels first into the bottom of your lungs, then fills them up from the bottom.This will normally sound a lot like the waves of ocean.This form of breathing is done during the entirety of a yoga practice, until one rests in savasana and the breathing is relaxed into normal mouth/nose breathing. But yoga is not the only time that you should feel you are allowed to practice this powerful relaxation technique. Anytime you need to control your stress response, you can use this technique to help regulate your stress level and respond appropriately to the situation.

How to Do Ujjayi Breathing

There are a few ways to begin Ujjayi breathing:

Start with a cross legged seated position, if possible:

  • Take deep breaths through your nose into your abdominals while sitting upright. Try to relax your muscles as you breath exclusively into your nose
  • Inhale into your nose and relax your shoulders as much as possible. Notice your belly rise and fall and your shoulders relax down your spine a little as you lift your best.
  • Bend your torso over your thighs, bend your knees, release your neck muscles so your forehead is heavy and leaning forward towards the floor. Take big breaths through your nose.

These are just a few ways to get started, but eventually you will get your Ujjayi breathing to be second nature, especially if you practice a lot of yoga.

A few more notes about how the Ujjayi breathing functions optimally: try to keep your inhales and exhales about the same length and continuous throughout the practice; if you notice your breathing stopping then try backing off a little and focus on increasing the quality of your breathing; don’t strain your lungs if you haven’t practiced in a while, its easy to do when you take extended breaks from yoga.

These techniques should help you to maintain a safe and powerful breath technique during your yoga practices.

A Taoist Tradition

Ujjayi comes partially from Taoist and yogic practices for meditation. Ujjayi can significantly add to the meditative quality of a yoga class and I have personally found it to be the defining factor of how well my yoga practice goes. It can also increase internal body heat and increase oxygenation to the muscles, both can significantly increase vitality.

Krishnamacharya taught that Ujjayi breathing helps to keep the energy sealed into the body, while using the bandhas to fully interlock energy into the spinal cord while practicing yoga. He also taught that a lock of the pelvic floor is essential to keep the energy within the body.

Ujjayi breathing is a powerful technique that shouldn’t be overlooked in everyday life. It can help you to deal with anxiety, stressful situations, bad drivers, mean bosses, anything that might cause an internal reaction. Use your Ujjayi breathing to your advantage when you want to calm and de-stress your body.

 

Here are some additional resources for your reference:

 

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