Tag Archives: life

Golden Flower Physics, Pt. 1: Xing, Ming, and Turning the Light Around

I have been studying the two English translations of The Secret of the Golden Flower, a book translated first into English from Chinese by Cary F. Baynes in 1931 from the German translation by Richard Wilhem (foreward and commentary by Carl Jung), and then by Thomas Cleary from Chinese in 1991, with the addition, “the Authoritative New Translation” over his name on the cover. I don’t read Chinese and therefore cannot interpret the value of the texts relative to a personal understanding of the original Chinese. The Cleary is brief and concise while the Wilhelm is more verbose and has more cumbersome but often more more appealing syntax.

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. Yin and it’s psychophysicospiritual correlate, the po (associated with the Lung and with Metal in Chinese Medicine), is to be “subjugated” (Cleary’s translation) by the hun (associated with Liver and with Wood), correlated with the yang of the body. Overcoming darkness with light is not a motif unique to Daoist alchemy (Gnosticism, etc.). 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.

“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, 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 prima materia. In Hermetic alchemy this is seen as a process either of completion or purification (through separation and recombination). In Daoist alchemy the 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.

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.

The Dao splits into yin and yang at the event horizon (the membrane) of the proton or of any information state. 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 the visualization 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 implicate order from the explicate order.

Xing and ming

Xing is translated as “human nature”, “essence”, and “logos” by Wilhelm and “essence” by Cleary. In a footnote in Wilhelm’s the reader is encouraged to stretch one’s imagination to consider human nature as a cosmological principle of this magnitude. I would here invoke Genesis 1:28 – “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him.” In light of this, xing becomes a fractal, organizing principle (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, or soul and energy. In the Wilhelm and Cleary, ming is “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. Ancient Daoists did not have a theoretical information-energy ontology. We, being a couple millenia more informed, do.

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.


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Conner Kees
Golden Pearl Health
Making the Medicine Blog

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The Importance of Spirituality in Healing

In my last article, I laid the foundation for some ideas regarding our psychospiritual interaction with the Dao. What has always been understood in all cultures under mystical pretense is now the purview of a unified physics, one that – if appreciated with an appropriate sense of wonder and an open heart – affirms for us the limitless spiritual power that is built into the reality in which we live. A power in which we play an important part.

Who would you rather be: a person stuck on an island with or without the power of prayer? Some might say, “prayer is delusion and I’d rather die without false hope.” These people simply have yet to feel it.

For those of us that do – where does this power come from?  The obvious and easy answer is God. It’s one that need suffice for us, ultimately. But while we’ve got time and the brains to do it, let us explore some ideas.

This article is not intended as an explanation of the power of God – rather it is a brisk walk through theology, metaphysics, and a study of consciousness. For our purposes, recognizing the influence of a higher power in one’s life is spirituality. Prayer is the act of making an appeal to that power. In this respect, energywork can easily be regarded as a form of prayer. The highest form of energywork is that in which the practitioner sees him or herself as a “hollow tube”. “It’s not you”, we often tell ourselves; it is the Source Qi (yuan qi) of the universe. The act of performing energywork is not the release of stored energy like a battery (i.e., capacitance) – it is simply allowing the right energy to flow (i.e., conductance).

At the quantum level, the glue that holds matter together is the coherence between the waves that governs its behavior. As our understanding of this phenomenon deepens, we realize that the effects of coherence are not just obscure occurrences in vacuum chambers with entangled particles – coherence is everywhere, all the time. In fact, quantum biology tells us that extremely high-level coherence is what keeps organisms together both at the cellular level and the level of the whole organism.

All cell membranes exist because the waves which stand on their surface are musical – literally; in phase.” – Dan Winter, Physicist

Quantum biology also tells us that the formation of life is a natural product of the interaction of water and light with the quantum information coherence network of the Planck scale of space. Light and water are literally extracting energy and information from the vacuum in a way that negates entropy and gives rise to organisms that feed, grow, and reproduce. The miracle of life is nothing short of a miracle, even when given a physical explanation.*

This coherence can happen between structures at different levels of scale. This encompasses interactions between the organization of mind and matter itself. In fact, the unimaginably complex interplay of information and energy at the Etheric (quantum vacuum) level of space can be interpreted as a universal form of proto-consciousness. One that is everywhere, all the time, and is constantly exchanging information-energy with all matter and especially matter organized into life.

I’m certainly not making the claim here that God can be somehow reduced to the total information-state of the quantum vacuum – but I am saying they are related. What’s being presented here is a theology in which God is both immanent and transcendent, both ineffable and interactive. How fortunate are we to have a spirituality that is so dynamic and so full of life?!

Being alive means that you are in some way more in touch with this energy than an inanimate object. You have a bio-scale supercomputer of quantum coherence following you around (your mind), in which you can direct your attention and cognitive processing power. Take into consideration the role of feedback in this process. If biogenesis results from feedback between the quantum electrodynamic interaction of water and light with the information of the quantum foam, then what are the possibilities of the quantum electrodynamic relationship between one’s mind and one’s conception of a higher power.

Spontaneous and miraculous healing occurs everyday, all over the planet. Could it be that through the power of our spirituality we are tapping into the high-level coherence of the Ether and thereby bringing our own bodies into resonance with that highly ordered field?

“Coherence is health.”

 

*It’s a bit more complicated than that. More on this to come.


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Conner Kees
Golden Pearl Health
Making the Medicine Blog