Gradually, awareness and the rest of the organism learn to interact with each other. The Taoist learns to tame brute willfulness, which can often become so violent that it tends to destroy everything the moment it penetrates the subtleties of the being.
The same principle applies for the rapport between willfulness and nature. This attitude is well summarized by the following metaphor.
Vignette on how consciousness relates to nature. The image is that of a boat captain who is traveling on one of the great rivers that nourish the Chinese countryside. The advice is as follows: if the captain thinks he can change the course of the river on which he is navigating, he risks becoming a victim of the whirlpools and currents of the river. If he learns to pilot his boat only as well as is possible, he will know when it is time to draw alongside of or to bypass a reef
One of the great contributions of philosophical Taoism for the techniques of body psychotherapy is to have made explicit a way to ally consciousness and body reactions without one drowning the other. By stepping away from the world, the wise one does not cut himself off from what is going on in society. Instead, he creates for himself an environment sufficiently simple that his project becomes possible. In the little tales that make up the writings of Chuang Tzu and of Lie Tzu, the wise persons are often consulted by powerful people.â The dialogue between a retired person and social life is thus maintained.
The Taoist is as wary of the directives given by the emotions as those given by rationalizations. Nevertheless, his search for moderation never leads to the repression of the spontaneous reactions of the organism The wise person could have fragile bones and weak muscles,â and have his penis erect so full is his vitality,â without necessarily being with a woman or trying to intensify his vitality with stimulating exercises.20 If he avoids women, it is because he is in a process of energy conservation. He does not want to waste his aging resources by distributing them to others. To lose his semen wastes what the body contains. I suppose that the Taoist also avoids masturbation. Conforming to the mores of the time, this discourse addresses itself only to men.