“Clarity and stillness set right the world,” says a passage in the Daode jing, one of the oldest and most foundational texts of Daoism. It represents a key theme in Daoist thought: that through calm and tranquility minds and bodies can heal and grow, the solutions to difficult situations can become clear, and we can come to experience our inherent interconnection of ourselves with the world around us. One of the key ways of entering into this tranquility and of transforming our everyday experience lies in the practice of meditation. While less well known than Buddhist meditation or modern mindfulness, Daoism also has a wide range of contemplative practices that can calm the mind and emotions, improve physical wellbeing, and lead to a transformative awareness of the world and our interactions with other people and things.
This class will provide the basics of Daoist methods of still sitting meditation, along with some stretching and self-massage to help enter and exit the practice. Each session will also include time for discussion and talks about the ideas, texts, and contexts of Daoism that inform the practices.
Larson Di Fiori has a PhD in Religious Studies, focused on Asian Religions, from Brown University, where he continues to teach as part of the Contemplative Studies Initiative. He is also a translator and a teacher of Qigong and Tai Chi, having trained with mentors in both the US and China.