Movement methods following Daoist philosophy are, by design, not individualistic, isolated egocentric leisure activities to enhance one’s own vitality and fitness.

The universe, nature, and our being a part of all this are central topics in the Laozi (Lao-tzu = Tao Te Ching, chapter 25). We are a part of the whole, a part of a mutual „body.“ This means we hurt ourselves, too, if we do not mindfully deal with our surroundings and the environment. Often, though, we behave as if we were outside of nature, as if we were above nature. Our memory and our perception seem to be impaired. In the Laozi great importance, therefore, is given to keeping the memory alive of being a part of a large „body“, by continuously re-connecting to this undeniable unity, and to the widening of our field of perception. One’s daily practice—whatever this might be—plays an important role in this. With respect to the „people of harmony“ (聖人 shengren), the Laozi talks about 抱一 baoyi, the embracing of oneness (chapter 22), and having a wider social impact.

The knowledge of this unity is deeply ingrained in our being. As an individual person, or collectively we can always reactivate this memory. It is in our genes, in our instincts, in our intuition. This is also why the term 自然 ziran, that what naturally is already there, plays such an important role in the Laozi (chapter 25). We cannot access such complex interconnectedness by the intellect, human language, and thinking alone. This is reflected in the Laozi’s attitude towards a one-sided focus on intellectual abilities, civilizational knowledge, and language capabilities.

Knowledge, however, does not stay alive, if its memories are not continuously nurtured. And, knowledge is only knowledge, if it actually is put into practice. Because of this, everything starts, as described in chapter 54 of the Laozi, within one’s own physical existence, and then extends to wider social circles. Meditative practices and movement methods are hinted at as profound gateways (for instance 動靜 dong jing, in chapter 15, 虛靜 xu jing, in chapter 16).

The unity deeply perceived in oneself constitutes a solid foundation for collectively acting in sustainable ways (chapters 54, 57, 80). This, in my view, is a central message in the Laozi. For democratic educational processes and for us today in general this can be an important signpost for sustainable paths to the future.