I want to write a couple of short posts about becoming a Taoist and what I see as the benefits. Firstly I'll concentrate on becoming a Taoist.
For philosophical Taoists there's no ceremony, initiation or exam required before you can consider yourself a Taoist, but I do believe that there's a process. Taoism is about a journey of self-discovery, or more correctly self-rediscovery, a rediscovery and acceptance of your true nature while stripping away the baggage, preconceptions and misconceptions that you've collected growing up or in adult life. Through this journey you begin to experience reality in a different way and find that the highs and lows of life have less impact upon you.
So at what stage do you become a Taoist? Well, you'll find that lots of Taoists say something like "...and then I realised that I'd been a Taoist for ages, but just didn't know it!" In my experience, for most people, by the time they come across Taoism or the Tao Te Ching they're already on the journey and just recognise in Taoism something that they've understood on some level for ages. However I believe that there's an extra step beyond this recognition before you should consider yourself a Taoist, and that's taking the step of deciding to actively engage with Taoism and to decide to live your life exploring what this means.