Biophotonics and Shen, Pt.1

In Chinese Medicine, the word shen is used to refer to what is most often translated as spirit. This spirit isn’t the kind personal spirit, or soul, that we think of in the West. It’s more akin to what we think of as the Holy Spirit. Coming right out the gate here with bold claims but bear with me.

When an acupuncturist examines a patients tongue or their face, we say that “the shen is good” if the practitioner perceives that there is a good prognosis and that the person is generally healthy. In fact, the first place we look to discern the quality of the shen, is the eyes. It is the “light” in one’s eyes that we are examining. Take note that when communicating in English these Chinese concepts, we have this notion of “light in the eyes” which overlaps between cultures. If we look into the eyes, and practitioner simply doesn’t have a good feeling or the eyes actually appear dull and distant, we call this shen disturbance. I’d like to note here that the means by which the quality of shen is ascertained by the practitioner is largely, an intuited feeling.

By the same token, eyes that appear uncomfortably intense or even sparkly, especially in a person who is presenting with symptoms of mania, can also indicate shen disturbance. In very serious cases of mania, this can manifest as what we call Heart fire blazing. This person is essentially losing their light through their eyes. (More on this in a bit.) It’s no surprise, the goal for health is balance. Remember our motto from Ep.03 – Coherence is health. Shout it from the rooftops, why don’t you?

A quick lesson in optics: Let us consider for a moment the definition of what a laser is, relative to normal artificial light source. You may or may not know that the term LASER, is actually an acronym for “light amplification by stimulation emission of radiation”. Sounds cool – but that doesn’t tell us anything and, for that matter, any lightbulb is an act of light amplification by stimulation emission of radiation.

So what is laser? What separates a laser, by definition, is that the wavelengths of light being emitted are all the same. When you buy an incandescent lightbulb you, may be able to buy an “amber” colored bulb, but when shopping for lasers you can choose between 630nm wavelengths of light, 635nm wavelengths, and so on. The coherence of the light being emitted is what defines laser light. If you’ve ever seen the kind of lasers used in photobiomodulation by acupuncturists shined on a flat non-reflective surface, you will notice a cross-hatch pattern and a distinct sparkle. Aha.

Now, for a quick lesson on biophoton emission. You… emit light! It was discovered in the 1920s by Russian scientist Alexander Gurwitsch that all living organisms are actually bioluminescent in the same way as fireflies or those cool light-up fish near the ocean floor. This light is emitted in the violet and ultraviolet range. Keep this fact in mind. What’s one thing you know about ultraviolet light? It’s invisible, right? Wellllll… more on this in a bit. Gurwitsch realized that the light coming from onions that had been cut open and made to induce cell division could actually induce cell division in a nearby onion by being exposed to the light it was emitting, without being cut. You block the light coming from the onion, and there’s no effect.

We’re going to talk more about biophotons in the next episode, but I’d like bring home one more illustration of biophoton communication between cells.

Alrecht-buehler cultivated baby hamster kidney cells on one surface of glass slides. [A couple] days later he inoculated new cells on the other face of the glass slides and cultured [them] continuously in darkness. He found that the growth of the newly inoculated cells was not random, [and that] their distribution [corresponded] to the cells on the other surface, but if a piece of metal film was placed between the two faces there is no such phenomenon [-] demonstrating [the] existence of communication by light between the cells.

Zhang Jinzhu, 2008

So what was the whole schpiel on lasers about? It turns out this light is coherent. Fritz-Albert Popp’s research has demonstrated for decades that this light can behave as an incredibly finely tuned laser. It can also behave quite incoherently. This dance between coherence and decoherence is part of this mysterious method of cellular communication by light.

Let’s return to Chinese Medicine and the concept of the Heart. The character for xin actually depicts a physical heart. In spite of this, it’s meaning is actually quite complex and will likely be the subject of future podcasts. Notably, this term xin not only refers to a physical heart, but is also used to refer to what we think of as one’s “mind”. To complicate things further, another meaning of this term is the “center” of something – in the same way that you can say the “heart” of something is it’s center in English. That said, from a five phase metaphysical perspective, the Heart is associated with the Fire phase.

In mapping a five-phase metaphysics onto a twelve channel system in Chinese Medicine, the five doubled leaves two without an association. This is why the Fire phase is doubled in it’s expression, with four of the phases having two channels and the Fire phase being split into two types, and corresponding to a total of four channels. Two of the Fire channels are in charge of Fire as it is manifest in the flesh – the Pericardium and Sanjiao. This is known as Ministerial Fire. The other two are in charge of Imperial Fire, which is the management of the gateway between Spirit and the body rather than the Spirit being, in some sense, captured and utilized by the body. These two channels are the Heart and Small Intestine.

Deborah Woolf says it well in her interview on the Qiological podcast:

[Ministerial Fire is] the fire of our maintenance rather than the fire if our creation. The fire of the Heart is a Heavenly Fire. It’s our Shen – it’s not something that is ours. It’s Heavenly. It descends.

Deborah Woolf @ 19:03

Now, given what you’ve learned in this post about these ultraviolet biophotons and what we call shen – what if I told you, the human retina actually perceives UV light? Some of us may know the story of Claude Monet and his cataracts. The famous painter, late in life had the lens of his left eye completely removed after many failed attempts at cataract surgery. While he was painting his famous series known as Water Lillies, the change in his perception caused by the removal of the lens becomes apparent. The normally white water lillies that you and I see, to Monet, were a bright, iridescent blue-ish white. If we removed the lens to your eyes, you would see the same – but that’s not necessary, thankfully. It’s been demonstrated that 1% of UVA and 3% of UVB light that makes it to the human lens actually passes through it and onto the retina.

…Make you wonder?

Cell Division and the Four Directions

In Daoist metaphyics, as in Pythagoreanism, the manifest world is preceded by number. As you increase in number, you increase in complexity – moving away from the unmanifest (“Heaven”) and into manifestation. The One, the Two, the Three, and so on represent archetectonic forms into which the manifest world conforms as it is expressed by Spirit.

“One starts, Two opens, Three orients itself around something, Four extends in all directions, Five takes those directions and orients them around an organizing principle, and Six takes that organization, spins it, and introduces time into the equation.”

Brandt Stickley, private lecture, January 2017

One, Two, and Three are quite Heavenly – with the third iteration of Spirit being a trinity of Tian-Ren-Di – Heaven, Man, and Earth. Here we have humankind coming into the picture, as the mediator between the manifest and unmanifest world. Add an extra dimension of spin and you are given the four – the four directions, the four seasons. Earth is in the center of this matrix of four.

The sage faces South. The Metal Tiger in the West and the Wood Dragon in the East.

What does this all mean? It’s important to think of these notions as archetypes that are writ into the fabric of reality. The idea of number is universal, as is the directionality of North, South, East, and West (at least if you’re on the surface of a planet). However, where a certain degree of abstraction takes place is where the “elements of nature” are superimposed onto this matrix of meaning. I invite you to keep in mind that what we are talking about are fundamentally functions of the world that can express themselves in myriad microcosmic and macrocosmic ways.

In Chinese metaphysics, Wood is associated with that which grows, reaches, pushes away, extends, and spreads. Think of the blood vessels branching throughout the fascial planes of the body. Think of the effort it takes for the plants to push themselves up through soil in Spring.

Metal is associated with that which divides, cuts, separates and subsequently allocates, distributes, and stores. Think of chopping wood. Think of taking your root vegetables and storing them in the root cellar for winter.

In the four directions, we see an expression of the axis mundi (the Two, yinyang) both longitudinally and vertically. This pole upon which the world is situated is so persistent in its expression that the Chinese understood the fire-water dichotomy as existing not only as a core representation of the dance between yin and yang as the Two, but also of Heaven and Earth, North and South, and when we get to the Six it re-emerges as the fire-water pairing of taiyang and shaoyin.

This is why in this blog here I correlate this cosmological and alchemical dynamic with water’s ability to pull charge from the Ether and use it as the momentum necessary to orchestrate life. It’s important for this discussion that we consider that this is the very means by which piezoelectric technologies work, like quartz clocks and crystal antennae. What to a man-made device is a means of providing constant voltage from the piezoelectric properties of a stone is to water the means by which it self-organizes carbonates, nitrates and other materials into thermodynamic non-equilibrium (life).

Therefore, the taiyang-shaoyin pair and what it means for biology is an expression of a cosmic principle, not something unique to biology. It is the natural way in which biology leverages the relationships established by the fine-structure matrix of space-time.

What I also mean to say is that the East-West axis is the North-South axis turned on it’s side (as well as one notch further down-to-Earth).

We see the manifestations of this East-West axis in the body as the liver/gallbladder, blood, tendons, and eyes as Wood and the lungs/large intestine, skin, and to some extent the hair and the blood vessels themselves as Metal.

In wuxing (Five Phase) theory, the phases keep one another in balance in a cycle of co-creation but also by influencing and being influenced by phases elsewhere in the cycle. This is called “controlling”. The relationship between Wood and Metal in this respect is one of control. Metal chops wood.

This got me thinking about cell division.

frogs GIF by Digg

Take this image of embryological cell division as a representation of Metal controlling Wood.

Cellular growth controlled and encapsulated (Metal). Cells pushing away from one another as plants from the earth in Spring (Wood). The hun (Liver) seeks expansion and growth but requires the scaffolding of the po (Lung) for the mandate to be carried out.

What you are seeing when you see this cell division is the longitudinal nature of the East-West axis spreading itself out across space and time – multiplying – taking it’s organization from Shaoyin-Spirit, the North-South axis. We perceive this cell division as a 3-dimensional phenomenon in time (which it is) but I’d like for you to imagine that what you are perceiving as the Wood-Metal axis is in fact being orchestrating by it’s alignment along a second, invisible axis, the Shaoyin-Spirit. The reason this Fire-Water axis is invisible is because it is a hyperdimensional supervening influence rather than the expression of that influence in space-time. It is the information necessary to organize the organism which interfacial water extracts from the ether. It is the growth of Wood contained by the boundaries of Metal, organized by the intelligence of Fire through the substantiality of Water – the Four directions (dimensions?) to which all matter and energy is oriented.

Jingshen and Biogenesis

Let’s jump right to 40,000 feet.

As discussed in the blog (particularly here), the phenomenon of life can be thought of as some sort of macro-scale, structured-water, quantum-information-organizing symphony of light, sound, and electromagnetism. It utilizes the natural crystalline properties of water to extract energy from the ether (“quantum vacuum fluctuations”) in order to live and to adapt.

In fact, it even begs the question: Which comes first? What we call “life”, or these apparent properties built into the physical structure of water at the molecular level? And for that matter, why stop there? After all, the whole thing is working together. As Nassim Haramein often says, “the whole thing is talking.”

(More on this in future episodes, or for more – check the shownotes.)

Episode 1 hinted towards the possibility that at some point in our understanding, what we currently have only conceived of as “metaphor” ceases to be so. You might think of this as due to some universal “illusion” (what in Vedic philosophy is referred to as maya, and in Daoism is the ten-thousand things which arise from the Dao ). For our syncretic purposes, the apparent consistency of this “illusion” can be thought of as a product of the entanglement of all mass-energy in the perceivable universe with itself. I’d like for you to visualize the beautiful cosmological model known in Vedic philosophy as Indra’s Net – a vast web of interconnected, multifaceted jewels where any one face on any one jewel reflects every other jewel in the net.

This model of Indra’s Net is both ancient and useful. However, there are fractal-holographic properties to our world that aren’t made entirely explicit by this model, at least on the face of it. That is, until you realize that this “Net” is, itself, a hyperdimensional object. Hah! You were thinking about physical 3D jewels – weren’t you?! What it’s describing isn’t just the relationship between protons in the physical universe, but the way information itself is structured.

As you zoom in to reality, stuff starts to look a lot like it does at other levels of scale. For instance, the arrangement of neurons in the brain compared to the plasma birkeland currents in intergalactic space as captured by the Chandra Observatory – or – hey! How about the cymatics dancing on the surface of a glass of water compared to what we think of as representing an “atom”. Go figure.

(This is called scale invariance and was discussed in Episode 4. It’s something known in ancient Western philosophy as the Hermetic axiom; “as above, so below”.)

If you extend this scale invariance to apply not only to what we think of as matter but also to information itself (of which matter is composed in a digital physics), it implies that the very nature of information is at some level self-recursive. This would actually necessitate the eventual dissolution of the abstract nature of metaphor. All is a self-entangled fractal unfolding of the same.

Sound redundant? It is.

Now we’re at 50,000 feet.

The origin of life in the universe becomes, in the holofractal model, an inevitability rather than the statistical impossibility presented by evolutionary and molecular biology.

“Quintessential Spirit” [jingshen] provides the means by which to
trace to the source the root from which human life arises
and understand what animates humans’ form, frame, and nine orifices.
Taking its images from Heaven,
it coordinates and organizes humans’ blood and qi
with thunder and lightning, wind and rain;
[It] correlates and categorizes humans’ happiness and anger
with dawn and dusk, cold and heat.
Judging the distinctions between life and death,
distinguishing the traces of identity and difference
regulating the workings of movement and stillness,
it thereby returns to the Ancestor of nature and destiny.
It is what enables you to
cherish and nourish the essence and spirit,
pacify and still the ethereal and earthly souls,
not change the self on account of things,
and fortify and preserve the abode of Emptiness and Nothingness

The Essential Huainanzi, Chapter 7 (Major, Queen, Meyer, and Roth)

Here we have the Daoist notion of what to the Renaissance thinker was the Vitruvian man.

Da Vinci Vitruve Luc Viatour.jpg

A pictorial representation of the human body “squaring the circle” – a fractal unfolding of the Divine Proportion (Golden Mean). I’d like to point out how late in Western thought these ideas held their ground.

A notable distinction to be made in the study of metaphysics is the degree to which the world is excreted from these cosmic forces as an ongoing process (panentheism?) or to which the universe is a clock set in motion at the beginning of time (deism). Both of these can in some sense hold simultaneously, however (as stated in other episodes) understanding the world, fundamentally, as a process is a feature of much of Eastern thought.

The Huainanzi describes this “organization” as a process. “Taking it’s images from Heaven” it actively “coordinates and organizes”, but according to the archetypal and metaphysical ways in which those relationships are rightfully ordered (e.g., as corresponding to lightning and thunder, etc.). It is said that jingshen, the essence of spirit, naturally “provides the means” by which to return to itself. The structure of life’s organization is itself evidence of cause of life’s origin.

Consilience is the term for a phenomenon in the history of science, where independent evidence from unrelated sources converge to support a common conclusion. The patterns of the honeycomb, the north pole of Saturn, and the hydrogen bonding that arranges water into a hexagonal lattice aren’t merely the world organizing itself according to the path of least resistance. What would it even mean for the world to “organize itself according to the path of least resistance”? What is the world resisting against? Itself? Ohhh – right – entropy, dark matter, thermodynamics, yadda yadda. That stuff is soooo 20th century. It is the consilience of all form pointing to it’s origin – some hyperdimensional net of cosmic jewels.

“We tried to find another solution to the riddle of the origin of life, namely when the Earth’s primordial chemistry did not allow complex and precise autocatalytic cycles the continuation of a relatively high organization of a pre-biotic system could have been ensured in a special coherent regime of polar oscillations, stemming from water and later spread on a more complex and dynamic chemical system within water. The beauty of this outlook is that the water coherent regime can be highly organized even when the pre-biotic chemistry is in its infant stage and, when [left] to it, would prove to be incapable of any growth of informational richness.”

Igor Jerman, 2016

In other words, the incredible chemical complexity that constitutes what we think of as “life” was already running in virtual reality, more or less as potential, embedded in the complexity of liquid water’s interaction with itself before the molecules necessary for life were even present within it.

Quantum biology shows us that the information about how to organize life must literally be derived from the ether. The ability of matter to organize itself coherently and in a way that negates entropy is a natural product of the holofractal redundancy we’ve discussed. Being the superfluid substrate through which all space and time is mobilized, the coherent fluctuations of the ether provide a means by which thermodynamic equilibrium is broken in favor of less entropy, more stability, and the flourishing and replication of life.

Indeed, even, to have boundaries (or a membrane) and to distinguish self from other – (as the Huainanzi states) “distinguishing the traces of identity and difference”.

If you ask me, as I said in Episode 3, the miracle of life is absolutely nothing short of a miracle, even when given some kind of physical explanation.

Overlapping Models

Taking two bodies of knowledge, two vocabularies, and performing a synthesis between them is the goal of this blog. The two bodies of knowledge offered up for synthesis here are that of daoist cosmology and quantum biology. This synthesis is then used as a framework to approach the realm of healing.

In Daoist cosmology we have dao – the ineffible source from which all things are born and to which they inevitably return. The process of returning something back to this source is of great interest in Daoist alchemy. If the dao had an adjective it would be yuan. As a Westerner reading the glossary of the Huainanzi (Major, Queen, Meyer, Roth) I am reminded of the process-oriented nature of the Chinese language, where “yuan X = to trace X back to its origin”. This is a useful distinction to be made, where in most translations of the alchemical literature, yuan is rendered simply as the adjective “original”, “primordial”, or “source”.

It is also important to be reminded of qi as meaning more than the active, inherently yang force it is often characterized as, e.g. energy, movement, breath, expression, mood, etc. Let us not forget, both mass and energy are qi. In fact, it is said that “even the Dao is composed of qi.”

This is because the dao is antecedent to the nothingness from which even the source of all things spring. The dao may be ineffable, but – at the very least – it is. The truest nature of being is void. It is from this void (zero, 0) that the dao was born (one, 1).

“The meaning of emptiness or the void is not the absence of anything. It’s the presence of pure potential prior to manifestation.”

Brandt Stickley, private lecture, January 2017

What does this have to do with quantum biology?

In physics we have the quantum vacuum, the quantum foam, the zero-point energy field, or – preferably (to my tastes) – the ether. The ether was a commonplace and useful notion in physics until it’s existence was spuriously “debunked” by the Mickelson-Morley experiments of 1887. The Darwinian impulse (who died in 1882) in the domain of physics could build further steam, unobstructed, without some soft-serve ice cream ether getting in the way. As has been discussed on this blog elsewhere, the arc of all spirit-less “natural” science has been a constipated attempt at denying what invariably rests always and everywhere, right in front of one’s face. An insightful colleague of mine, Shifu Ramon, after seeing this newly publicized “mystery” regarding oppositely rotating galaxies, said “you just wait, next is dark gravity.”

Dark energy, dark matter, dark gravity – all ether.

“If it’s a boundary within a boundary with a boundary to infinity… there is no point [through] which I can calculate the center, so each point is the center. Each point contains the whole. Each point is a point of stillness that maintains the spin. Without the stillness, no spin can occur – and all we see is the spin, not the stillness. We see what radiates from the singularity; from the stillness. The eye of the hurricane; the eye of the galaxy.”

Nassim Haramein, 1st television interview, 1995

This ether (read: quantum vacuum) is the fundamental emptiness of space at the very fine level (at least in regards to what we think of as “solid”) and the incredible potential energy that exists within that empty space. Let us not forget that the very thing which is quantized in quantumelectrodynamics as the very building block of reality is spin – some sort of pure, spiralized force. Without this “spin”, there is nothing. Sounds like “even the Dao is made of qi.” Enough spin in one place, and mass-equivalence (e=mc^2) renders what we think of as “solid”.

How’s this relevant to healing?

In Chinese Medicine, yuan qi is conceivably the most subtle and rarified form of qi that is utilized by the body. It’s thought to be taken in through specific acupuncture points in the body and then gathered in the mysterious organ, the sanjiao, or triple burner – an organ with “function but no form” – and then redistributed to the internal organs of the body to give them their essential vitality and function. Kind of deep, no?

Allow me to propose an alternate definition of yuan qi in light of quantum biology.

Let yuan qi be the process of utilizing charge from the ether – something which is inherent to all biological systems according to the discoveries of the new biophysics. In this model, yuan qi becomes something specific, namely biology’s ability to squeeze charge from the vacuum by leveraging the crystalline structure of water. I may even submit to you that the centrality of the taiyangshaoyin relationship in Chinese Medicine, an expression of the alchemical interplay between fire and water, alludes to this essential function in biology. And of course the shaoyang organ sanjiao would be assigned the duty of distribution of source qi, given it’s frequent association with the fascia and the interstitial spaces of the body, where a dense network of long, superconducting proton currents are said to flow through the coherent fields within water (Ho, et al.). These proton currents of what is essentially bioplasma might be likened to the ministerial fire of the sanjiao and pericardium as well.

Simply by equivocating between the dao and the quantum vacuum in relation to biophysics, we enter into a new frame. What, then, is the redox potential of the mitochondria – perhaps part of the cooling function of shaoyin water, regulating the flow of information through the shen and into the cells of the body? What might be the role of the mitochondria themselves, being organisms (not organelles) that function primarily through the use of light (fire), water, and oxygen (also likened to qi)?

If, at this preliminary level, we could conceive of yuan qi as being simply charge pulled into the body through water from the ether, then where do zhong qi, zheng qi, zhen qi, ying qi, wei qi, and gu qi fit into play?

A provisional thought-sketch (these will be familiar to any student of Chinese Medicine):

zhong qi – perhaps a function of coherence in heart rate variability, being a macro-scale iteration of the coherence of cellular processes utilizing coherent domains.
zheng qi – perhaps a more esoteric concept, some inherent function within biology not only to defy thermodynamic equilibrium and entropy, but also the downward force of gravity. Perhaps natural, biological anti-gravity.
zhen qi – perhaps the very proton neural network which holographically maps the bodies information onto itself. The soliton-web entangling remotely located cells, rather than a soup of Brownian motion.
ying qi – perhaps a function of the mitochondria’s cytochrome C oxidase particularly as it relates to shuffling food electrons over the membrane surface.
wei qi – perhaps a function of immune cell’s proticity and their ability to utilize reactive oxygen species to decohere the cellular membranes of their targets.
gu qi – perhaps simply food electrons themselves.

Surely the brilliance of the Daoist cosmological insights and the insights into biology informed by QED theory must be playing themselves out not only in reality but in tandem with one another. Turning those unified insights into a useful clinical framework for acupuncturists and practitioners of Chinese Medicine is what I’d like to see happen.

“We have to be brave enough to engage in speculative metaphysics.”

Jeffrey Kripal, RuneSoup Podcast, Talking The Secret Body

Here’s to exploration. Here’s to the future of medicine.

A Glimpse at Universality

It often occurs to me while studying English translations of Daoist alchemical texts that I am a Westerner who can not read or speak the language in which these texts were written. That said, these texts seem to carry a message that transcends the very language from which they sprang into life, much less the cultural maxims. Appreciate for a moment the fact that these texts can be considered a form of “scripture” – even though this means something quite different to the Westerner. Many of the authors of these texts are revered as xian, or “immortals”.

Make no mistake, the limit cases of applied Daoism are daunting – akin to the Monastic tradition in Western culture – but, given our modern predilections, what would the non-monastic, non-ascetic approach be to these texts and their wisdom? When I approach this tradition through the lens that I’m offered in translation, I find – again and again – a can-do attitude. Thankfully (in the Wuzhen Pian in particular), we are admonished to quit “roasting seeds” and “swallowing mist” and “fiddling with our noses”.

We are told to “experience the reversal while you are in the marketplace.”

As stated in a prior episode, this reversal is the return to the Source of all being. And the marketplace is… well, the marketplace. Do you feel at touch with the ground substance of all reality while you’re choosing between canteloupes in the grocery store?

This sentiment is often expressed, especially in the Wuzhen Pian, from which the Zhong-Lu tradition is based – one that points to the universal accessibility of the healing, spiritual power inherent in the body, and points us away from techne and self-abnegation.

What in the world is a Westerner doing reading translations of Awakening to Reality and the Secret of the Golden Flower? What would it even mean to somehow mix these lifeways into mine? I submit to you that it’s a question of experience and a certain form of knowing (or even, gnosis). What is it I experience for fleeting moments during meditation or simply in cognition, in passing, when I am reminded – “oh” – of the deeper nature of things and point my Heart in this direction?

When I sense the tug of this state approaching, I sometimes, as if habitually, close my eyes to orbit closer into some kind of mental singularity, but when I feel like I brush upon it, my eyes find themselves wanting slowly and gently to re-open and drink in what they see. Why would this be? Do my sensory apparatus know something that my mental constructs about the nature of reality don’t? How could the true nature of things be apprehended with the our limited senses anyway? Can it be apprehended at all? Or merely brought nearer to some semblance of truth?

Yawn! This is a perennial question in philosophy – one that has been beaten to death in Western thought over millenia. But in this podcast, and as a result of what seems to be already baked in to the very object of our study, we find ourselves recapitulating the philosophy of Lao Tzu or even – to our Western tastes, Parmenides of Elea – when we say: All is One.

“The Dao” is quite ubiquitously translated as “the Way” – but what is the “way”?

I invite you to ask yourself absent a Daoist context and openly with your English-speaking mind…

What is the way? — the way in which all things must go?

I am reminded by these teachings to consider my life’s path and see it for what it is; and to appreciate uncertainty; and surrender to process; and to relish in the subtle flowing movement of the cycle of life and death of which I am a part; and to take time in all ways; and be reassured in some eternal faith.

If we are to take the Buddhist and Daoist notion at face value that emptiness is form and form is emptiness, then what really is? That which is must be both and neither of these things. Spontaneously through the Eastern mystical mode of thought we enter a world which is neither here nor there, but somewhere in between. A world which is phenomoenologically the projection of some kind of paradox. Yet, we are here – now – and the actual, contemporary understanding of our world in mathematical and physical terms dictates that the light with which this projection is made must be infinitely self-similar and isotropic in every way.

We’ve been peering behind this veil in different ways since the dawn of human cognition (whatever that means), and with particular mathematical abstraction since Max Planck discovered his “ultraviolet catastrophe” in 1894, and the entire time the world reveals itself for what it truly is – one. It just can’t show us on it’s own terms, of necessity.

But if you wanna feel it, all you have to do is close your eyes, and breathe, really.

Take it all in.

What does it truly mean for emptiness and form to be the same? From the Dao to the ten thousand things we have this absolute irreconcilability of the one and the many, but this is not a case of chicken or egg. From the perspective of the manifest world, the Dao is primary in every way. Antecedent to this is, literally, nothing.

Yet, something is running the show.

Therefore, developing a taste for the entertainment of Spirit – for the playful coming into being of awareness – is, I submit to you, the deepest purpose of the soul’s journey.


Conner Kees
Source For Well-Being – Black Mountain, NC
Making the Medicine Blog

Intentional Healing as Music: Auto-Tuning a Symphonic Field

What models do we think with when we approach the subject of intention? What’s the grammar and the syntax of this kind of work? Does it even matter?

In this post, you’re going to presented with some food for thought – in the form of an intentional, musical theory of reality. I’m not necessarily positing that these ideas are true, merely that they may be helpful to think with.

Let’s try the (New) age-old energywork exercise: with your intention, form an “energy ball” between your hands – or even simply between two fingers. Expand it. Compress it. Move it. Play with it. What does it feel like to you? And even more importantly, what in the world are you doing?

Our individual embodiment will dictate how our intentionality feels to us, but to what extent could what is happening between the hands or fingers be thought of simply as the establishment of a field of resonance? A sort of musical bubble, if you will. Now, this is a visualizable short-hand for what’s being presented in this episode, but let’s go ahead and state it’s obviously more complex than that. If we might think of it as a bubble then we must also admit that it’s a bubble with essentially no borders. (All fields technically extend into infinity, as discussed in Episode 5) Not only that, but your hands being present have nothing to with the bubble, they are just helpful points of reference for you.

The idea that we are losing something by giving away our qi is a fallacy – and this is the reason why the paradigm in which you perform your intentional healing can directly influence the experience for everyone involved. Dr. Beverly Rubik’s work has demonstrated that the sense of wellbeing of the practitioner has significant effects on cell cultures having Reiki performed on them. If an otherwise largely unconscious and unarticulated state like “wellbeing” has this kind of effect, then what kind of effect might the conscious understanding of what one is even doing have on the desired outcome?

I’m going to contend here that, if you feel tired after performing intention healing, then  you may simply be consciously or unconsciously holding the notion that the work itself can be “draining” or “tiring”.

There is nothing to drain. The energy in which we work is literally infinite. There is no scarcity when it comes to the infinite power of Spirit. As discussed in Episode 3, you are not a battery – you are a hollow tube. Given the model we’re thinking with in this episode, your job is simply to strike a chord.

In intentional healing, we do not send, transmit, or do anything that implies the transfer of substance from one location to another. It is not me giving you my qi or the projection of some force. Rather, all intentional healing can be thought of as the intentional induction of sympathetic resonance. What is sympathetic resonance? When you have two tuning forks of the same frequency and you only strike one – the tuning fork next to it also rings. Same with crystal wine glasses, etc. One difference, though, between thinking of what we are doing as inducing sympathetic resonance and the metaphor of the tuning forks, is that the sound of the tuning forks have to travel through the air. The strength of the sound drops off as you move away from its source according to the inverse square law (even though the effects of all fields technically extend into infinity in a non-linear way). The difference between this an intentional healing is that… well, the “propagation” of “waves” in the Ether happens instantaneously and they don’t dissipate in strength with distance. Ahhhh, that’s encouraging – isn’t it?

It is an instantaneous, non-local effect – meaning standard Newtonian particle-oriented notions of causality are out and non-linear causality in a fractal-holographic (maybe even musical) universe is in.

So, where’s the music coming from? It’s possible that intentional healing might happen through harmony with the musical scale to which the physical universe is literally tuned. We know that Genesis 1 states, “in the beginning was Word.” Norse, Vedic, and other cosmologies from around the world also put sound at the foundational level of the Creation. I encourage you to think with the famous “music of the spheres” put forth by the Greek philosopher Pythagoras. What we are talking about is what two scientists Geesink & Meijer call generalized music, or GM theory. If Geesink & Meijer’s research is even half as profound as it appears to be, it could easily be one of the most powerful scientific discoveries in human history. No big deal.

This is why when performing intentional healing with my clients, I use tuning forks and sound played through a coil to create a magnetic field that is tuned to Pythagorean intervals.

As also discussed in episode 3, telepathic phenomena such as the non-verbal sharing of thoughts or feelings may also occur through this kind of instantaneous and non-local resonance, rather than by the transmission of some substance or force. For that matter, synchronicity itself may in some sense be this kind of universal-musical phenomenon.

When we intentionally interact with the informational content of a target, we are effectively striking a musical chord with which the target “rings”. We are simply allowing the strings of the universe to play harmoniously (and no, that’s not necessarily me advocating for what’s known as string theory – although, who knows?) This ringing (i..e., coherence) can be thought of as a kind of substance, though not the kind of substance that can only be moved from one point in space to another like moving a rock. Instead, the substance is self-generated through the field of awareness. It can be spontaneously generated anywhere, at any time, from any location. The substance, truly, is the sound of a chord.

Related image

One last thing, is that I’d like to note the homophonic nature of the word “scale”. It is both a verb and a noun, meaning to change the size of something in a way proportional to itself or another reference – as in, “scaling” or “to scale”. The verb “to scale” could also mean, for that matter, to climb a building. Interesting! The noun “scale” as we’ve used it here, also means a set of harmonic frequencies that make up varying degrees of consonance or dissonance relative to one another. Now, what occurred to me a really whacky implication here, is the term “scalar wave”. “Scalar wave technology” is a term used to denote the kinds of hyperdimensional energies utilized in his research, where he – like many other free energy researchers – was experimenting with the ability to tap energy directly from the Ether. The generalized music of the living universe can be thought of, jokingly, as a scalar scaling scale. This is practically no different from saying it is fractal-holographic, but in a musical sense.

What I hope you’ve gained from this episode is another way of thinking with the spiritual truth that we are simply assisting in the path that reality wants to take. We are becoming a vehicle for the self-expression of the innately divine nature of reality.

Follow the music, and – as they say – let go, and let God.


Conner Kees
Source For Well-Being – Black Mountain, NC
Making the Medicine Blog

Fractal-Holographic Principles in the Secret of the Golden Flower

This article is a continuation of my attempt at syncretism in light of the Daoist mysticism and meditative techniques espoused in the Secret of the Golden Flower and other texts. This project seeks to compare Chinese cosmological and ontological concepts with those found in contemporary fringe science topics – most interestingly the fractal-holographic and fluid electrodynamic properties of Nature.

“The light is neither inside nor outside the self. Mountains, rivers, sun, moon, and the whole earth are all this light, so it is not only in the self. All the operations of intelligence, knowledge, and wisdom are also this light, so it is not outside the self. The light of heaven and earth fills the universe; the light of one individual also naturally extends through the heavens and covers the earth. Therefore once you turn the light around, everything in the world is turned around.” – Taiyi Jinhua Zongzhi, 3.10, Cleary

By “light” the SOTGF means the light of pure consciousness. This implies an underpinning assumption of the primacy of consciousness, meaning the belief that consciousness is more fundamental to Nature than physical objects, i.e. atomic matter. Dean Radin highlights this as an intrinsic difference between the current, physicalist paradigm of science and the coming paradigm (information-energetic). He also notes that quantum systems models have yet to account for the effect of psi – in other words, we still don’t know how psi happens but we are looking. I would contend the answers are out there, waiting to be consolidated (e.g. Holofractal sub-quantum informatics, or something).

We also see that light is the monad or prima materia in this case. There is a single substance in the ontology and it is light. However, logically, where there is light there must be somewhere for it to shine. Therefore, darkness is both implied and explicitly talked about in the text. “Darkness returning to darkness, by a coming together of kind” is the process in which the po (the soul of the physical body) partakes after death. The po “suffers in life” and “looks toward death”. The book says “this is what consciousness is”. By consciousness in this case, I believe them to be referring to perhaps the echo chamber of the Void – implying that in some way both light (pure consciousness) and darkness (physical basis of consciousness) are both “consciousness”. Seeing the light is still the object of the practice and this light is the fundamental substance of the world.

The light of one individual spreading throughout the whole world can be taken as more than a remarkable testament to our personal power, but a hint at the known implication of Maxwellian field-theory that all fields extend into infinity, both mathematically and in consideration of thought experiments like the Butterfly effect.

“Once you turn the light around, everything in the world is turned around” – in exactly the same way that the information stored in one proton is shared by almost all other protons in the universe. Every movement of every particle in the universe effects the holistic information-state of the entire universe. The staggering implication is that by observing the nature of one’s own consciousness, one is affecting the entire physical universe as well.

“Turning the light around is not turning around the light of one body, but turning around the very energy of Creation.” – 3.5

“If each point contains the whole, then each point has all the information.” – Nassim Haramein, physicist

“The words focus on the center are most sublime. The center is omnipresent; the whole universe is within it. This indicates the mechanism of Creation; you focus on this to enter the gate, that is all. To focus means to focus on this as a hint, not to become rigidly fixated. The meaning of the word focus has life to it; it is very subtle.” – 3.12

The last two sentences have more to do with praxis, but there is ontology to be gleaned from this passage. The omnipresent center that contains the universe is something that is experienced in meditation, but there may be cosmological reasons for this being built into the structure of reality.

One assertion implicit in this entire intellectual endeavor is that there is novel information to be gleaned from the practice of turning consciousness in on itself or treating consciousness as it’s own object. “Consciousness is always consciousness of something” is a trope in the Western philosophy of mind. What kind of consciousness? This is a matter of shishen (perceiving spirit) vs. yuanshen (original spirit). Yuanshen correlates with light and with the yang energy of the hun (soul which comes from spirit, yang soul) which is to “overcome” the yin energy of the po (soul of the physical body, yin soul).

The next statement is a kind of holofractal statement in itself – that the information dynamics of the universe itself actually implies the mechanism by which it came into being in the first place. The nature of the thing is tautologous and self-evident – so recursive and self-referential in nature as to escape language. “You focus on this to enter the gate, that is all.” To focus on this is to gently and patiently nurse within oneself the notion that consciousness is not only fundamental to the structure and function of reality, but that it is so homologous and self-similar in nature as to escape explanation as an actual matter of fact. The ineffability is built into the ontology – it is not a failure of semantics or of instrumentation.

See the light and send it back to where it came.


Conner Kees
Source For Well-Being – Black Mountain, NC
Making the Medicine Blog

“The Light of Pure Spirit”, a poem

The following is a composition of mine in the style of Daoist alchemical poetry. Enjoy.

“The Light of Pure Spirit”

Begin at the beginning
For there is nowhere else

Relax the body and the heart is relaxed
Relax the heart and the mind is relaxed
Relax the mind and the whole world is relaxed
If you stop and look
You can see the thin veil
Of a looming void
Practice seeing it,
And the emptiness of this void
Becomes a clear and open infinitude
Of light

Allow the eyes and ears
To look and listen inward
Rest the mind on the breath
Rest the heart on the center
Rest the body on itself
And from this emerges the true mind
As the light of pure spirit
In the chamber of the heavenly heart

This is the impetus that created the world

When you look and listen inward
Consciousness encircles itself
Consciousness through consciousness
Is the doorway to the deep

The center is everywhere
In the center there is an opening
In the opening there is nothing
In nothing there is a mystery
In the mystery there is a light
A heart within a heart
A seed within a seed
A world within a world
A pearl of power and peace
Care for this pearl
Gently and patiently
And the pearl will yield spiritual gold

Carry this peace
Always and everywhere
And it will carry you

– Conner Kees


Conner Kees
Source For Well-Being – Black Mountain, NC
Making the Medicine Blog

Xing, Ming, and Turning the Light Around

Let’s start with a little literary history. This part may be exceedingly boring to some of you – but for those interested in reading these texts yourself, take note. For those interested strictly in the metaphysics, keep listening.

There are currently three English translations of what is known as The Secret of the Golden Flower or the Taiyi jinhua zongshi. It is by far the best-known and most widely translated Daoist alchemical text. It is, historically, a late text, first appearing in the late 1600s.

This text was translated first into English by Cary F. Baynes in 1931 from the German translation by Richard Wilhem (which contained both a foreward and a commentary by the influential psychologist Carl Jung). The second translation was made by Thomas Cleary in 1991, with the addition, “the Authoritative New Translation” over his name on the cover. There are certainly legitimate concerns surrounding the Wilhelm translation which we will not go into, however I find Cleary’s assertion that his text is the “authoritative” one to be dubious. Translation, I reckon, is both an art and a science. Some of Cleary’s commentary regarding Jung I find simply inappropriate. That said, it is a great translation over all and I recommend picking it up if you are looking for a translation of only this text. It’s a great place to start introducing oneself to the intricacies and the wisdom of the Daoist alchemical tradition.

The third and most recent translation was published in an anthology of alchemical texts by Fabrizio Pregadio in 2019. As I said in Episode 6, I don’t read Chinese and therefore cannot interpret the value of the texts relative to a personal understanding of the original language. That said, the Cleary is brief and concise, the Wilhelm is verbose with beautiful linguistic flourishes, and Pregadio’s translation is somewhere between the two. Personally, I trust Pregadio’s work above all others because he has devoted his career to translating in a straightforward fashion Daoist alchemical texts alone and his work is humble.

Now, to the metaphysics…

In The Secret of the Golden Flower, we are seemingly given a dualistic cosmology that puts the transformative value of yang over it’s counterpart, yin. This is not an uncommon motif in Daoism, as it is said that Heaven – yang – preceded the formation of Earth – yin. It is primary based on the sole fact that the unmanifest – yang – necessary must exist before that which is manifest – yin.

Yin and it’s psychophysical correlate, the po (associated with the Lung and with Metal in Chinese Medicine), is to be “subjugated” (Cleary’s translation) by the (yang) hun (associated with Liver and with Wood). Here we have an instance of yang overcoming yin in our psychophysical embodiment. Overcoming darkness with light is not a motif unique to Daoist alchemy and has corollaries in Gnosticism, Kabbalah, and other schools of thought. In a similar way, the “perceiving spirit” (Shishen) is to be brought to rest so the “original spirit” (Yuanshen), being more yang in nature, can take the throne as master of the dwelling. (Note here that this term yuan is the same one used in episode 2 when referring to “Source qi” or yuanqi.)

“The celestial mind is like a house; the light is the master of the house.” – 1.12, Cleary

This is of course also given the fact that it’s alchemy we are dealing with here. The Cleary translation says “the turning around of the light is the ‘firing process’.”

“The ancients’ method of transcending the world, refining away the dregs of darkness to restore pure light, is just a matter of dissolving the lower soul and making the higher soul whole.” (Referring to hun and po) – 2.14, Cleary

The method of reversal (nifa) – the circulation or turning around of the light – is the primary psycho-alchemical tool in The Secret of the Golden Flower.

“The whole work of turning the light around uses the method of reversal.” – 1.11, Cleary

This turning around, circulating, reversing, inverting, or returning process (all of which it’s descriptions have rendered in English), is the return to the Dao, to the Origin, to the Fundament. The analogous process in Hermetic alchemy is seen as an act of completion or purification (through separation and recombination, solve et coagula). In Daoist alchemy this alchemical method involves a return. The Daoist alchemists saw themselves as rewinding time rather than fastforwarding it. Our understanding that all things return to the Dao could imply that the source is the same regardless of how you get there. It’s a vortex, after all.

We are talking about information at the border between being and non-being, therefore polarity persists regardless of the recursiveness of the matrix. Language refuses to break down completelyperhaps this is why the Daoists wrote so much, despite holding the idea that the description doesn’t truly get at the thing-in-itself. “The Dao that can be spoken is not the eternal Dao.”

Let’s get physical: the separation of yin and yang happens at the event horizon. This could be the surface of the proton or the membrane of a cell. Cosmologically, this is where the Dao is encircled by itself and where the first proton is born. It has occurred to me the possibility that what this book is talking about is in part an imaginal grasp of the surface of the proton. This process involves “seeing essence (xing) the original face.” (Cleary)

I contend that this is the mysterious opening spoken of in Daoist alchemy. This opening is really the boundary condition that separates the explicate order from the implicate order, in Bohmian mechanics – in other words that which can be perceived, measured, and described versus that which can’t but exerts an organizing influence on the former.

Xing and ming

Xing is translated as “human nature”, “essence”, and “logos” by Wilhelm and “essence” by Cleary. Pregadio renders it “Nature”. In a footnote in Wilhelm’s the reader is encouraged to stretch one’s imagination to consider human nature as a cosmological principle rather than something that is strictly human, per se. Here we have the Hermetic axiom – “as above, so below” – and a fractal cosmology peeking through. I would here invoke Genesis 1:28 – “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he was made.” In light of this, xing could be thought of as a fractal, organizing principle of archetypal scale (the kind of recursiveness that generates two mirrored hands and feet of five fingers and toes each, etc.).

In Daoism, Xing and ming are a mysterious principle pair. You can find these concepts translated, respectively, as consciousness and life, human nature and life, essence and life, nature and existence, or soul and energy. This is clearly a case where attempting to  translate these concepts into English will fail ot render the an appropriate representation of what is meant. Regardless, what we are presented with is a dichotomy of form versus function, respectively. In both the Wilhelm and Cleary, ming is rendered as “life”. Xing is the energy from which the hun is derived. Ming is the energy of the po.

Ming is also translated as “destiny” and in the Chinese language, to “lose one’s ming” is to die. Ming shares a relationship with both qi and with jing, as well as with the body itself. Ming is yin because of it’s associated with the po and vise versa for xing, yang, and hun. Ming is said to rest in the Kidneys or in the lower dantian. Xing is said to rest in the chest or in the upper dantian and is associated with the Heart. Xing is also said to correspond to the personality and with the yang of the heart, or the emotions. The character for xing is a combination of xin (Heart-Mind) and sheng (generation).

Xing and ming also share correspondences, respectively, with Heaven and Earth, the Sky and the Light, the Heart-Mind and the Three Treasures, Li (fire) and Kan (water), and to the flame of a lamp and the oil that burns.

It is said that the objective of Daoist alchemy is to “bring one’s form (xing) to completion by means of the Dao” and “extend one’s life (ming) by means of practice.”

Backward-flowing method

This image is from the 1962 edition (pg. 65) and it contains a footnote from Cary F. Baynes remarking that there is no reason not to include the residuals of “kuei” (gui) in the return to the Dao. This is a fantastic point, in light of my earlier remark that the text seems to value the yang ultimately over the yin.

The intellectual project I am embarking on is one of syncretism – I assume this same kind of correspondence can likely be found in other systems of thought and in other works on consciousness (the Upanishads, for instance). The very realm the Daoist’s enjoyed the most was the one where language breaks down and the ineffable seeks to express itself.

I suppose I’m not considered a Daoist insofar as the kind of gnosis I am after is one that is both expressible in words and visualizable, i.e. effable. The nature of the mystery does not 100% penetrate down to the level of human expression. It is, however, fundamentally an experience. The Daoist alchemists are not conceiving models of reality in order to build anti-gravitic crafts, they are doing it to experience first-hand the true nature of reality and become one with it. Mystical yet not without a firm grounding in the world as we know it.

“First establish a firm foothold in daily activities within society. Only then can you cultivate reality and understand essence.” – 1.7, Cleary

“You should know the great concealment
while you dwell in the marketplace.
What need is there of entering the mountains’ depths
and keeping yourself in stillness and solitude?” – Poem 5, Wuzhen Pian, Pregadio

…applied mysticism for the 21st century.


Conner Kees
Source For Well-Being – Black Mountain, NC
Making the Medicine Blog

Zen and the Art of Biophysics

If you’ve ever wondered what the fine-structure fabric of space-time looks like, take a walk on the beach. (Next time you can.)

At some critical point in the evolution of scientific understanding – metaphor ceases to be metaphor.

Dr. Mae Wan Ho refers to the work of her fellow scientist and teacher Emilio Del Giudice as “lighting the fire of a new science.” This new science entails a deep understanding of the electromagnetic nature of the organism and it’s relationship to light, water, and the quantum vacuum. However, the emergence of a new science that unifies disparate realms of knowledge is, of course, nothing new.

Syncretism is a deep undercurrent in many systems of thought, and is in fact the explicitly stated goal of contemporary physics itself. Modern physicists ostensibly pine for a “unified field theory” which can unite all the forces of the standard model. Luckily for those willing to step outside mainstream thought, these “unified theories” are out there waiting to be accepted and more deeply understood. There are complex reasons why these ideas, beyond being merely “fringe”, are relegated to arcane schools of thought but these are a matter of history, habit, and even greed. Suffice to say that 300 years of mechanistic cellular biology can’t be jailbroken overnight.

What we are seeing now in the field of biophysics is a realm which the ancient Daoists could have only dreamt. In a way, it is the inverse of Daoist nominalism – the belief that a name is merely a human attribution and can never adequately reflect the thing-in-itself. The domains of physics and metaphysics are, at last, bleeding together in ways that bring attention to the nature of the metaphor itself. In this view, the nature of the object being studied can actually yield information about the cosmic blueprint from which the object is constructed by its very behavior. The fractal-holographic nature of reality is being played out in front of our very eyes, in every moment. We simply have to realize what it is we are seeing.

Waves crashing on the shore; peaks and troughs bouncing up and down on an otherwise smooth surface; waves on the surface interacting with other waves – consuming them, dispersing them, redirecting them; areas of smoothness and slower motion amidst the seeming chaos of wave interference; the way the waves on the surface bend the light on the floor of the ocean; the bubbles running a “game of life” before being reorganized by the next impending wave; waves within waves within waves and on and on and on… these are not merely metaphors for the wave-like nature of reality and the dynamics of quantum fluctuations. The past few decades of research into biophysics implies that water is the closest thing to an exact, macro-scale representation of quantum phenomena there is.

Ocean Waves

It is the moving image of coherence.

Next time you are on the beach, stretch your perception to encompass this view.

I originally wanted to write this article on the profound peace I have received from illuminating the physical nature of my relationship with the Dao, the Ether, the Zero-point field, etc. specifically through the study of quantum biology.

In my search for inspiration I was given a break. After exploring and internalizing the work of Giudice, Bischof, Ho, and others I had a dream. In this dream I was going through some sort of shopping mall, meeting and greeting people. But in this dream I experienced a feeling. This feeling was more than a feeling of “lucidity” – this was a feeling of being in flow. As I proceeded in the narrative of this dream, I felt like the very molecules of my being were being guided by their future states into their present state, a phenomenon which sounds like science-fiction but is actually borne out by research into the quantumelectrodynamics of cellular communication. In this dream, I felt as though my entire embodiment could perceive the fluctuations of the Ether. I could feel it – and I let it move me.

Perhaps this feeling is the same kind of feeling we experience in the flow of our intentional healing, our meditation, or our daily lives. Perhaps it is our intentionality bouncing off of the interference patterns of the Ether which resonate back at us through time, infusing our being with a sense of deep harmony and a feeling of unity with something more. What, then, shall we intend?

The future science of life will not distinguish between it’s humanistic implications and the physical dynamics that define it’s behavior. Healing, spirituality, and ethics – naturally falling out of a holistic view of reality.

All is truly One – A deeply synchronized, superfluid matrix of Spirit.


Conner Kees
Source For Well-Being – Black Mountain, NC
Making the Medicine Blog