Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.
The whole concept of finding the true self through meditation and being present are all eastern philosophical ideas. Most of our suffering comes from our reliance on external validation such as people’s opinions of us, the amount of money we make or the amount of promotions we get. When studying these concepts it’s also equally important to study where these ideas come from so that you can get a bigger picture of the goal. In this article I’m going to give a quick overview of the ideas of eastern philosophy.
Eastern Philosophy is based in Asia and takes most of its roots from Chinese philosophy. Its main concern is moving away from the false self and finding the true self. In eastern philosophy the true self is part of nature. Eastern philosophy tries to find happiness through unity. Eastern philosophy is much more spiritual than western philosophy. It is also important to be satisfied with what you have and to always give to others. Eastern philosophy can be separated into three ideas; collectivism, holistic and harmony.
In eastern philosophy there is a moral obligation to help others. This is the idea of righteousness and that an individual is a small cog in a huge machine. Therefore, in order to keep this machine running it is your social duty to give to others and others will give to you in return. This is shown in many eastern traditions such as putting family before yourself and showing complete respect to authority figures or family members. There is a Chinese tradition that whenever you visit another person’s house it is respectful to bring them food or a gift. This is looked at as strange in the western world. The main idea of this collectivism idea is that you can discover your true self in relation to everything around you.
In eastern philosophy they often emphasize the whole. This means our being is a part of the universe. We’re one with the universe. In fact eastern philosophy never categorized their teachings as opposing parts like the west. Instead they saw it more as separate truths which would eventually lead up to The Truth. In addition in eastern philosophy instead of a God to be worshipped we have the Tao. The Tao is not one a being that you worship the Tao is the source of all life. You don’t seek to please the Tao instead you become one with the Tao. The main focus of eastern philosophy is to become closer to this Tao and one with nature. The Tao is what governs the laws of nature – it is nature. Nature created humans so the closer you become with the Tao the closer you are to your true self.
In eastern philosophy there is no good vs evil or light vs dark. In eastern philosophy it’s believed that both are required to have balance in the universe. One is not better than the other. The emphasis is placed more on harmony instead of conflict. A good example of this is the Yin and the Yang. The Yin Yang symbol is arranged in a circular manner which suggests that they aren’t separate instead they depend on each other to form a cycle. And both sides of light and dark at its very core contain the opposite which is represented by a small dot in the center.
Have a great day!
If you are interested in a bit more of the history of eastern philosophy you can check out this video below by the School of Life. It does a really good and quick job of talking about the history and how Daoism and other philosophies came to be.