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.