The Way of Earth
地道 Di Dao
The Dao of Earth, Land, or Soil, is simply the way of organic life.
Di Dao is also the path your body is on. Experientially that feels like your physicality, strength, vitality, instinctual awareness, and your sensual reality.
This path is unique to each of us depending on your age, lifestyle and health.
Getting to know your body requires great attention and patience, as well as the willingness to accept things as they actually are. In the western world, we are extremely body-conscious, especially about having an idealistic appearance, and heroic physical abilities. This aspect of our culture compels us to try and look like, run like, dance-like, and attract sexual partners like we are extremely competitive twenty-year-olds.
If unity with oneself is the beginning of unity with the universe, then trying to be someone else seems, well, a little off of the path.
How does your body feel right now? How is your posture and your breath? How old is your horse (body)? What has your body been through? Injuries? Illness? Trauma? How can improve this relationship?
Di Dao is the foundation of Daoism. Honour the gift of your life by enjoying your vitality for as many days as you have.
Qi Gong, Dao Yin, Tai Ji, Martial Arts, Yoga etc, are all paths of Di Dao.
Each of these embodied practices involves cultivating your awareness of life through the experience of your body’s sensations, capacities, and limitations. Please take a moment to consider and accept that each of us experiences our body very differently, so each of us is going to move along at our own pace – in our unique direction.
If you find yourself experiencing some discomfort by comparing yourself to someone else in a class or in another environment, just settle into the truth of feeling insecure and/or competitive. As your practices progress you will have ample opportunity and skills to resolve this within yourself.
The Dao of Soil is very close to the Dao of Spirit.
The Spiritual path in Daoism (Tian Dao) begins by relaxing into the nature of your mind. The Way of Soil begins with relaxing into your instinctual animal body. In all of the physical, sensual, sexual and energetic practices of Daoism, we always begin with, “feel what you feel”. This, of course, means to feel the source of your feelings as well. To discover, layer by layer, your habits, your defences, your hopes and fears, and then to acknowledge these uncomfortable places as opportunities to learn is fundamental to cultivating an open awareness.
Being in nature is a great way to experience your inner Landscape.
A day alone in the forest, or by the lake, or on top of a mountain is a chance to have an undistracted relationship with your physical and sensual experiences. Being in Nature every day was a default setting to life, not that long ago. Learning to feel the changing seasons, the Yin and Yang and the Feng Shui (Wind/Water) of every mountain and beach is a potent part of Di Dao and of Qi Gong practice.
Being physically intimate with another person is also a profound opportunity to explore your embodiment. Giving and receiving intimacy and pleasure can be one of the most joyful experiences in life. It is a tradition in Daoism to explore sexuality as a form of Qi Gong practice.
Becoming present and aware of yourself as a body and your life as an embodied instinctual and intuitive experience is very freeing for the talking mind.
It is the same feeling that you get just before you start dancing!