“How are Native traditions and Taoism similar and how are they different? What common wisdom do these traditions bring to daily contemporary life that is relevant in our practice with clients?” Taoism is similar to native tradition through it’s’ emphasis on man-nature harmony. The concept of human kind co existing with nature, hence with the divine, is shaped by both Native American traditions and Taoism. Both philosophies have the same message: the binding unity of humankind with the earth; the human race cares for the earth and she provides it with shelter and food. This results in harmony, which is related to the Taoist concept of Ying and Yang. Indigenous people look on the cosmos as a living womb that nurture all lives. Cosmos is God, time, and nature. The birth, death and rebirth symbolized in the cosmos are comparable to the notion of Ying Yang. Lastly, both traditions emphasize the importance of ceremonies and rituals. The concept of Li, central to Confucius thinking, refers to all social ritual, civic ritual as demanded by his heaven. Through behaving in accordance with one’s social place, harmony can be achieved and maintained. Among Native Americans ritual and ceremony are also important. Everything with consequence was accomplished through ceremony such as puberty, naming children, birth, death and healing.
Intuitively, many people understand nature's role in human health. Whether it is walking on the beach, swimming in the ocean, or hiking in the mountains, interaction with nature seems to have a positive effect on humans. The sounds, smells, and sights of the outdoors appear to have an amazing stress-reducing capacity. Research backs up this folk wisdom, showing that spending time with nature can decrease feelings of depression, increase self-esteem, decrease tense feelings, help us to be more caring, less aggressive and violent, be less likely to procrastinate, and better able to work through problems.
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