Meditation and Taoist Arts
Our approach to life can be described as meditation based.
This approach is characterised by a mindfulness to holding a positive open attitude to whatever life brings, being prepared to respond and transform with that, without compromise to what is true for each individual.
We see this process as a continual exposing and discovery of one’s true nature, and believe that this process is greatly enhanced by the support of others.
Our main focus at Monte da Vida is the Inner Dissolving meditation practise from the Taoist Water Method as taught by Bruce K Frantzis. However we have also experience of other traditions and have studied with different teachers.
What is Meditation?
Calming, breathing, centering or presence practices that help you relax and be present are often called meditation, and this often includes many varied disciplines such as dance, Tai Chi and Chi Gong. Our understanding of meditation is that these practices (calming/presence etc) form the groundwork for meditation, but are not meditation in and of themselves.
Meditation for us is the ‘trained ability to enter and transform blocked and fixated places in the body-mind, and to release them so they are permanently gone’.
Relaxation is great, but run the trigger and it can agitate again. Removing for good what gets triggered, in a systematic way that can be learned and transferred as a skill, is meditation.
Silence and earth connection
There is a great silence that can be accessed on the land and it can provide a powerful holding space for deep meditation practice. To enable us to access and use this in the best possible way to deepen our practice, we use the natural cycles of the earth as our key dates and set them aside for silence. Taoists believe these points of ‘changing cycle’ in the earth’s rhythms allow us to access deeper energies of change and transformation, similar to how the change point between the in and the out breath also allow a deeper penetration into the mind.
Full moons and new moons we aim to keep silence from 6pm onward for going deep with practice.
Solstices and equinoxes we aim to do a full day of silence, or at least minimum communication.
Being More Alive
Being ‘more alive’ means developing a felt awareness of one’s own body and all it is connected to. This is very different to many common themes of western culture that encourage mental abstraction, numbness and avoidance of the physical being.
This understanding is a fundamental principle in Taoist practice, (Taoism being China’s original nature-based spirituality). Bodily experience lets you know as a ‘felt truth’ rather than an idea, that you are not living in a mental fantasy, and leads to a deeper connection with the self as well the living understanding that the ecosystem we are part of, is also a part of us.
Being more alive can be experienced on many levels and can be supported in many ways. Regular training in the Taoist arts including Tai Chi, Qigong and Meditation is all geared around increasing ones aliveness or amount of ‘chi’ (the oriental world for the bodies life energy).
We see these practices, as well as physical training such as martial arts or yoga, as great ways to use our bodies to their fullest. Working on the land, close to nature, is another way to support a physical groundedness in our bodies, and intimate connection with the earth.
A healthy diet, and a balanced lifestyle also support physical well-being and health, as well as mental, emotional and energetic clarity. For this reason, we have a policy of no drug-use, which includes alcohol and tobacco usage.
Honesty with ourselves and others is fundamental to how we relate to each other, as it forms the underlying basis for the health of human relationships. We encourage the freedom to discover the truth in all relationships, and challenge ourselves to let go of conditioned beliefs and ideas around love and sexuality that cause shame, jealousy, judgement of oneself or others.
On the emotional level, being more alive means not suppressing or avoiding emotions, or using them to manipulate.
We run regular groups focusing on meditation, presence practices and honest sharing to help reveal what may lie hidden to us and provide a practical forum for us to connect more deeply with each other.
Qigong and Martial Arts
When its not raining. We regularly train Wing Chun, Tai Chi, Bagua and Qigong on our big tree deck.
If you are a practitioner of any of these styles and you are in the area and wish to practice, we would love to hear from you.
We practice the internal arts of Tai Chi and Ba Gua along with the more external art of Wing Chun. We believe different martial arts can complement each other but that it is important to understand and differentiate the core principals offered by the individual styles.
If you are living in the local area you are welcome to come and join our classes. Please contact us if it is your first time, and to find out about times.
Classes are by donation that will go toward the development of the Monte da Vida project.
Check our website regularly if you are interested in future events, workshops, and retreats with us, or with visiting teachers.