What Does It Mean To Practice Taoism in America?

What Does It Mean To Practice Taoism in America?

The word "Tao" is merely a placeholder, a title to describe the unique path that each and every one of us walks over the course of our life.

Oftentimes when people ask me about my faith, I usually receive one of two responses: People either ask me what Taoism is, having never heard of it, or they proceed to correct me, claiming that it's more of a philosophy than a religion. Chances are if you inquired about Taoism in any Asian country, people would most likely know what you were referring to, and might even describe it as one of the founding religions of the far East. At the time I announced my own religious denomination, however, I quickly realized that I was knee-deep in a severe minority.

Initially, this really didn't irk me all that much. One of the perks of Taoism is that it functions very smoothly in private practice. In America at least, any sites of worship are states apart from one another, and organized communities are scarce. But Taoism is primarily concerned with the individual and sustains the belief that one can better their community and their connection to the world through betterment to oneself. In close relation to Buddhist precepts, Taoism emphasizes mindful awareness of self, spirit, and nature, and interconnections that form between the three. Regarding deities, their acknowledgment has varied greatly given the different Asian demographics, but original, general census holds a very agnostic posture. We neither deny nor affirm any central divine figures, not because of a sense of correctness, but out a respect for organic ambiguity. The mystery and the connotation of the unknown stirs a great reverence in us, and although I myself have a measure of confidence in an iteration of higher power, I acknowledge that I cannot know for sure, and perhaps am not meant to. Because of this viewpoint, people often like to write Taoism off as a secular belief system, and although for me it is a spiritual experience, that doesn't mean it has to be for everyone else.

The word "Tao" is merely a placeholder, a title to describe the unique path that each and every one of us walks over the course of our life. There is no overarching umbrella trait that I could think of to describe every single American citizen. We are a very eclectic people, and we are comprised of many distinct facets and interests. There are certainly the few, like myself, who take the ancient Taoist scripts and find religious significance therein, but another person might seek them out for purely philosophical or scholarly endeavors. I take great pride in my faith's ability to be open and accepting of individual perspectives, and therefore any religious snobbery would be counterintuitive to the belief system.

Truly, when any religion or philosophy travels from one country to another, permutation and evolution of that doctrine is all but inevitable. There is no crime in tradition, but as the societies of the world continue to reshape and grow, so too do our beliefs. 50 years from now, the paradigm for what we would consider an American Taoist may be entirely different than it is now, and that's alright. We needn't concern ourselves with keeping strict scrutiny on labels, so long as we remain open to possibilities and understanding of each person's unique take on things.

And so, if I correct someone who calls my own American Taoism a philosophy, I do so to assert my connection to it, not to detract from someone else's. Such questions no longer give me insult; rather, they serve to reaffirm my own values.

Cover Image Credit: http://www.taodirectory.com

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12 Bible Verses For Faith In Hard Times

Remind yourself that God is always with you.

Lately, I have felt lost at what God wants for my life. Ever since I've come back to UWG everything has been horrible. It seems that I can't catch a break. I'm trying my best to focus on school, work, and extracurricular activities. But it's hard when I'm having issues with my apartment/roommates and knowing my family back home is struggling and needs many prayers. All, I keep thinking is maybe Carrollton isn't where I belong anymore. I've asked God if He can guide me in the right direction. Below, I have found Bible verses that have helped get me through these rough, past couple of weeks.

1. Isaiah 43:2

"When you go through deep waters, I will be with you."

2. Psalm 37:5

"Commit your way to the Lord. Trust in Him, and He will act."

3. Romans 8:18

"The pain that you've been feeling, can't compare to the joy that's coming."

4. Proverbs 31:25

"She is clothed in strength, and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future."

5. Joshua 1:9

"Be bold. Be brave. Be courageous."

6. Ecclesiastes 3:1

"There is a time for everything and a reason for every activity under the heavens."

7. Isaiah 41:10

"Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Don't be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand."

8. Isaiah 66:9

"I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born, says the Lord."

9. Psalm 91:4

"He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings, you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart."

10. Psalm 62:1-2

"My soul finds rest in God alone, my salvation comes from Him, He alone is my rock and my salvation."

11. Philippians 4:13

"I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength."

12. Jeremiah 29:11

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Cover Image Credit: pixabay.com

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The Grief Is Never-Ending, But The Memories Last Forever

I miss my mom everyday, but I know she is looking down from heaven.


Have you ever lost something? Have you ever lost something that you thought you couldn't live without?

I have; I lost my mother when I was 17 years old. I always imagined that I would grow older before I would have to experience the pain and grief of losing a parent. Our lives can end in an instant and we never know when our last day is. There is not a day goes by that I don't wish I could have a hug from her or tell her my troubles. There are so many unanswered questions that I wonder about.

Even though cancer took you away, I am glad you aren't miserable or suffering. Not a day goes by when I don't miss or think about you. I miss all the ways you used to make me smile. I know you are looking down from heaven and watching me become the person I am today. I hope you are smiling and happy about the choices I am making, and I hope you know that you will be happy with what I choose to do in life. Our family is not complete without you.

Mom, I can't express how much I miss and love you. You were truly a wonderful woman and mother, but our time got cut short. There are so many memories in the future that I wish you could be apart of.

Heaven gained an amazing angel. The stars aren't gas forms. In my mind, they are something more magical. People die every day, and to me when they die they go to heaven and as angels, they shine brightly in the night sky. To me, the stars are just angels glowing in the night sky.

A big piece of my heart lives in Heaven, and she is my mom.

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