Selborne Village Hall

Mon 19:00 - 20:30

Wing Chun Class


The advanced meditations of Taoism are taught in my book A Taoist Way of Life

Here I share with you three basic introductory meditations of Taoism.

Find a comfortable place to sit were it is peaceful, and you will not be disturbed.
Press play, close your eyes and open your ears.
Let these guided meditations take you on an internal journey.

Forming the Pearl

Create a ball of positive glowing energy (the pearl) in the lower tan tien energy center in the belly.

The Small Heavenly Orbit

Circulate this pearl around the torso and head.

The Large Heavenly Orbit

Circulate this pearl around the torso, head, arms and legs.


In my book A Taoist Way of Life I teach the complete Advanced Taoist Meditation system.


This book is an explanation of the Taoist Way of Life System.

It contains the following guided meditations:

The Smile Energy Meditation

Forming the Pearl Meditation
Taoist Reverse Abdominal Breathing
The Small Heavenly Orbit Meditation

The Large Heavenly Orbit Meditation

The Taoist Morning Meditation

The Elixir Of Life
The Pearl of Immortality
The Spirit Body
Transforming Ching into Chi into Shen by Reversing the Positions of Fire And Water
The Heaven and Earth Meditation
The Sun and Moon Meditation
The Yin and Yang Meditation
The Five Senses Meditation
The Five Positive Emotions Meditation
The Five Positive Personality Characteristics Meditation
The Spirit Body Meditation


One of the most influential books of Taoism was the Tao Teh Ching.

Written by Lao Tzu in the 6th-century BC, the Tao Teh Ching is translated as The Book of the Way and its Virtue.

Tao = Way
Teh = Virtue
Ching = Book

Originally, the book title had Teh before Tao, meaning that virtue (how you conduct yourself in your relationships with others) was more important than trying to find Tao.

Chapter 76 is particularly relevant to our practice of Chinese Martial Arts:

A man is born gentle and weak
At his death he is hard and stiff
Green plants are tender and filled with sap
At their death they are withered and dry
Therefore the stiff and unbending is the disciple of death
The gentle and yielding is the disciple of life
Thus an army without flexibility never wins a battle
A tree that is unbending is easily broken
The hard and strong will fall
The soft and flexible will overcome

Tao Teh Ching

Lao Tzu wanted people to appreciate that a life of violence would result in a violent death. So he stressed the importance of cultivating virtue.

All those who practice Chinese Martial Arts also follow this code. We train to build ourselves up rather than bring others down. We only use the fighting aspects of our art to protect ourselves when we are attacked. The long-term objectives of Chinese Martial Arts are to develop good self-defence skills, to cultivate good character, increase one’s health and develop one’s energy and spirit. At an advanced level, Chinese Martial Arts are not something that we do, it is something that we live.

Legend says that at the age of 80 Lao Tzu became aware that he was reaching the end of his life. He decided to pass through the western gate out of China and into the vastness of the Himalayas. (The western gate is a metaphor for death). The guardian of the western gate recognised the wise old man and asked him to write down his philosophy before he left. And so Lao Tzu wrote The Tao Te Ching.

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to visit a temple dedicated to Lao Tzu. The temple is near what used to be the western gate of ancient China but is now the central Chinese city of Chengdu. The temple complex has vast grounds with many smaller temples and pagodas and gardens within it.

I was there on a festival day, so it was very busy. Some people were visiting the different shrines and making offerings. Others were in the tea house eating the temple’s amazing vegetarian food which was combined with medicinal herbs. From one of the Taoist monks, I purchased some rubbings of ancient stone carvings kept at the temple. They show the ancient meditation for attaining balance, health and longevity through the transformation of Ching to Chi to Shen.

Lao Tzu’s Pa Kua Pagoda

Within the temple grounds was a beautiful eight-sided tower called Lao Tzu’s Pa Kua Pagoda which pilgrims were continuously walking around.

The Original Ancient Version of Yin and Yang

Facing this wonderful building on the wall of the great temple hall opposite was a huge Yin Yang diagram painted in the ancient style.

The ancient Taoists, by depicting Yin and Yang in this way, were showing the spiraling movement of energy within Wu Chi. In our practice of Chinese Martial Arts, we become a spiral of energy.

We can feel that our intention creates movement. This generates spiraling chi within us, which causes the various Yin and Yang interactions in the body. We rise up and sink down, turn left and right, twist and unwind, spin clockwise and anti-clockwise, coil and release, rotate and unfold, inhale and exhale, open and close, compress and release. We embody within us all the coiling and uncoiling energy-generating expressions of Yin and Yang.

When practicing Chinese Martial Arts, the overwhelming sensation is that there is a spiraling force moving through us and around us. This spiral of energy connects us with Heaven and Earth. It gathers chi into us and spirals it around our spine, making us feel sturdy and strong.

The transformation from Wu Chi to Yin and Yang, from formlessness to physical reality, is not a single event but an ongoing process. Chinese Martial Arts are about being able to change and transform effortlessly when fighting an opponent. This can also be a metaphor for the ongoing process of change and transformation within our lives.

The idea of changing with changing circumstances, of transforming oneself into a better martial artist and a more mature person, is subtle and complex. It cannot be easily explained. Tao cannot be easily explained. The mind finds it hard to comprehend the Tao. Additionally, each individual follows their own path through life. We each follow our own Tao; our own Way.

To catch a glimpse of the Tao, we have to go outside the logical mind, as the Taoist Chuang Tzu (369 BCE – 286 BCE) said:

In a dream, he dreamed he was a butterfly.

But upon awakening, he wondered if he was a butterfly dreaming he was a Chuang Tzu?

The strange twists and turns of Chinese Martial Arts are like the strange twists and turns of life. In Chinese Martial Arts, unless the applications are explained, it is not clear what is going on.

In life, if you do not have a philosophy of life, how do you know what is really going on?

The Tao, the Way, is ultimately about the unknown. It’s about the mystery of the life that we live, about learning to live with the unknowing.

Here is a story about an old man who understood the true reality of the Tao:

There was an old man who had only one son.
The local villagers said: ‘Bad luck’.
He replied: ‘Who can tell’.

There was a great storm. The gate of the old man’s field was blown open, and his only horse ran away up into the hills.
The local villagers said: ‘Bad luck’.
He replied, ‘Who can tell’.

His horse returned the next day with a whole heard of wild horses. The old man closed the gate and now had a field full of horses.
The local villagers said: ‘Good luck’.
He replied, ‘Who can tell’.

His only son tried to tame one of the wild horses and was thrown to the ground and broke his leg.
The local villagers said: ‘Bad luck’.
He replied, ‘Who can tell’.

The next day, the troops from the Emperor’s army came to the village. Every family had to enlist one son into the army where they would most likely die in the ongoing war. Of course, because of his broken leg, the old man’s son was exempt from service.

What is good luck and what is bad luck is not always clear at the time. It is best to be like the old man.
Good luck? Bad luck? Who can tell?

When we practice Chinese Martial Arts, we find that it enables us to be transported into a different state of being. A spiritual component within us is set free to connect with the flow of the natural world, something greater than ourselves.

This experience is different for each person. It cannot be easily explained because it is beyond the capacity of the mind to grasp. As a spiritual meditation, Chinese Martial Arts are a way to find Tao but because Tao is elusive and mysterious, it is a long journey to find the Tao.

Chuang Tzu (369 BCE – 286 BCE), wrote a poetic symbolic story about his experience:

The Yellow Emperor,
on his way back from Kun Lun mountain,
lost the mysterious pearl of the Tao.
He sent Knowledge to find it,
but Knowledge was unable to understand it.
He sent Eloquence,
but Eloquence was unable to describe it.
Finally, he sent Empty Mind,
and Empty Mind came back with the pearl.
Chuang Tzu


Martial arts has always been my main path. I have explored connected side paths such as Chi Kung, Taoist Meditation, Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine. But I always stayed steady on the main path of martial arts. Some days I train a lot, some days only a little but always I train, every day. This dedication has resulted in an inevitable gradual increase in all the benefits that martial arts practice brings.

Many of the ideas within the martial arts can be easily expressed through the philosophy of Taoism.

For example, the most famous Taoist symbol, the Yin Yang, is perfect for discussing all types of concepts within the martial arts to do with balance and movement.

As well as a circle filled with Yin and Yang, Taoism also has an empty circle called Wu Chi.

This lends itself to martial arts ideas about the best states of consciousness for martial arts.

Also, Taoism has Chi energy.

Martial artists want more Chi and to have it circulating in a balanced way.

In addition, within Taoism is the idea of Wu Wei which means Effortless Action.

Martial artists would like all their movement and strikes to be Effortless Actions.

So, let’s look at the Chinese characters for the word Tao.

First, let’s look at the modern Chinese characters for the word Tao. This is two pictures put together. The first means ‘go’ or ‘walk’ and the second means ‘head’. So the combined meaning of these pictures is a person walking their path: Tao, ‘The Way’.

However, if we go back to the ancient Chinese Character for Tao it becomes much more interesting and relevant.

The original picture for head was not a square with horizontal lines across it and some tufts of hair on top. Rather, it was the face of a warrior with a war mask on his face and a three feathered headdress on top of his head.

And the other character was not a general idea of ‘go’ or ‘walk’. It was instead a picture of two feet. A more specific idea, it was saying not just ‘walking a path’ but also the movement of a trained human body.

So my interpretation of the original word for Tao was a warrior whose power comes from their training and is thus able to walk their own path.