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About Yueya

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    月牙 yuèyá (Crescent Moon)

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  1. Jung shadow work?

    One thing to keep in mind with theory is that it’s only a model of reality. Concepts are enticing because they make clear distinctions; distinctions that are only clear in theory, not reality. They help us gain insight into real experience, but can harm us if we make the theory primary and privilege its worldview rather than our own experience. I find Jung’s concepts particularly helpful for gaining insight into my own experience, but I’m not a Jungian. (Nor am I a Daoist, though likewise, I find aspects of Daoism very helpful.) What I’m getting at is that real experience, though primary, can only be described and communicated through concepts, but these can only ever be approximate. This topic is about what Jung calls the shadow. I find it a helpful concept but it becomes a hindrance if I look to find Jung’s concept of a shadow within me, rather than seek to use it to illuminate otherwise ineffable inner experience. This same inner experience could well be descried within a totally different theoretical framework. In fact, if the experience is at all universal, there must be numerous other ways it has been described. All these different accounts can be helpful, but I find some speak to me far more strongly than others. With that in mind here are some further thoughts on the shadow’s place within Jung’s theory...... One of Jung’s fundamental insights is that our human consciousness is polarised. For him, consciousness consists of flows of psychic energy and this energy, like all energy, only flows where there are polar differentials. (Daoists speak in terms of qi flow and yin-yang.) Within our psyche, the first level of polarity is between our conscious awareness and our hidden shadow. (Using contemporary terminology this could also be called a polarity between self and other.) Jung’s aim was not to eliminate or try to join these polar opposites, rather he learned that the best approach was to try and reconcile them. (Reconciling the opposites in a general sense was also the aim of both Western and Chinese alchemists, hence Jung’s affinity with their writings.) According to Jung, by making the shadow more conscious a person enters “a boundless expanse full of unprecedented uncertainty, with apparently no inside and no outside, no above and no below, no here and no there, no mine and no thine, no good and no bad. It is the world of water where I am indivisibly this and that; where I experience the other in myself and the other-than-myself experiences me." Obviously, this is no easy state to navigate, and gives insight into why humanity at large keeps ‘shadow’ as the primary source of psychic energy. Yet navigating it is vital for the deepening of inner awareness. To the degree that the shadow is made conscious, we lessen the polar tension and hence diminish its ability to energise our psyche. Jung recognised its power as useful and didn’t try to eliminate it completely, rather he allowed it some measure of expression within his personality. But what he found was that there are deeper sources of polarity within the psyche so that this lessening of shadow powered psychic energy, rather than being disastrous, is, in fact, greatly advantageous. When approached wisely, what happens according to Jung is a “boundless expanse” of new awareness. Where does the energy for this expansion of awareness come from? On what polarity does it depend? Jung’s answer is that if one follows the inward path it leads to the realisation of the next level of polarity within the psyche; namely anima, the female image within a man, or animus, the male part of a women. Jung wrote: “Recognising the shadow is what I call the apprenticeship. But making out with the anima is what I call the masterpiece that not many bring off.” Insight into this alchemical transmutation of the energies that power romantic love forms a key part of Jung’s work.
  2. I say it's because it's the yang / masculine aspect of Daoism. It gives the illusion that you're in control of the process, not ineffable nature, the mysterious Dao. Classical Daoism emphasised the importance of the yin / feminine aspect of reality, perhaps because these yang aspects always tend to dominate in one form or another. They're what's visible and graspable; the Dao is invisible and ungraspable.
  3. I agree if you mean external alchemy as the treating of the whole of life as the alchemical cauldron. All that inner work can be used as an escape from the difficulties of life, but used positively it can strengthen our alignment with Dao so that we're able to engage more meaningfully with life. That’s why I consider working with political engagement can be valid practice, for instance. And intimate relationships, love and the whole damn catastrophe; that's real challenging alchemical work. But if you mean what’s normally meant by external alchemy, namely the search for the physical pill of immortality and the ingestion of substances, then I disagree.
  4. Jung shadow work?

    @Bindi Yes, it’s important for me to remember this perspective on the shadow which could also be called repressive conditioning. Claire Dunne gives a balanced overview of shadow in her biography of Jung, Carl Jung: wounded Healer of the Soul: “For each of us the shadow is a call to explore our lives in greater depth. Bringing it into light and dealing with its contents, whatever they may be, helps us to grow into a larger sense of our humanity.” She explains further: The first layer we encounter in the unconscious is what Jung called the shadow, usually those parts of ourselves we don't like, don't know, or don't want to know. The shadow can be repressed in us like a cancer or projected outward onto others as qualities we dislike most in a person or group. The negative shadow can present us with a shortcoming to be overcome. The positive can show us a meaningful part of ourselves we should recognize and live out. Either way it’s a tricky element to deal with, as Jung himself knew. He wrote: “My shadow is indeed so huge I could not possibly overlook it in the plan of my life; in fact I had to see it as an essential part of my personality, accept the consequences of this realization, and take responsibility for them.” It seems Jung was successful in integrating his shadow as many accounts from people who had personal dealings with him concur with Psychotherapist Elizabeth Howes impression: “This man did in fact accept the shadow and ... this acceptance brought problems and tensions but also aliveness, reality, integrity, and depth of being.”
  5. Jung shadow work?

    I'm interested to learn what your insights are on this. It's your topic and I've already added plenty. Unfortunately, past experience tells me that Jung topics on Dao Bums gain little discussion.
  6. Jung shadow work?

    And another couple of snippets on the shadow archetype from his writings.... “Filling the conscious mind with ideal conceptions is a characteristic of Western theosophy, but not the confrontation with the shadow and the world of darkness. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious. The later procedure, however, is disagreeable and therefore not popular.” "This meeting with oneself is, at first, the meeting with one’s own shadow. The shadow is a tight passage, a narrow door, whose painful constriction no one is spared who goes down to the deep well. But one must learn to know oneself in order to know who one is. For what comes after the door is, surprisingly enough, a boundless expanse full of unprecedented uncertainty, with apparently no inside and no outside, no above and no below, no here and no there, no mine and no thine, no good and no bad......It is the world of water where I am indivisibly this and that; where I experience the other in myself and the other-than-myself experiences me." (The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious) "Recognition of the Shadow, on the other hand, leads to the modesty we need in order to acknowledge imperfection. And it is just this conscious recognition and consideration that are needed whenever a human relationship is to be established. A human relationship is not based on differentiation and perfection, for these only emphasize the differences or call forth the exact opposite; it is based, rather on imperfection, on what is weak, helpless and in need of support — the very ground and motive for dependence. The perfect have no need of others, but weakness has, for it seeks support and does not confront its partner with anything that might force him or her into an inferior position and even humiliate him. This humiliation may happen only too easily when high idealism plays too prominent a role." (CW l0: Civilization in Transition: par 579, p 301)
  7. Jung shadow work?

    For any real benefit, Jung has to be read as a totality. A small snippet of his ideas can be more misleading than helpful, particularly as he refines and develops his concepts over time as his own experience deepens. And from my observation, only a small minority of people feel strong resonance with his insights. Hence, with some reservation, here’s the entry on ‘Shadow’ from the glossary of Jung's semi-autobiographical Memories, Dreams, Reflections, for the information of those reading this who are not familiar with his terms...... Shadow. The inferior part of the personality; sum of all personal and collective psychic elements which, because of their incompatibility with the chosen conscious attitude, are denied expression in life and therefore coalesce into a relatively autonomous "splinter personality" with contrary tendencies in the unconscious. The shadow behaves compensatorily to consciousness; hence its effects can be positive as well as negative. In dreams, the shadow figure is always of the same sex as the dreamer. C G Jung: "The shadow personifies everything that the subject refuses to acknowledge about himself and yet is always thrusting itself upon him directly or indirectly for instance, inferior traits of character and other incompatible tendencies." (The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, CW 9, i, p 284.) "... the shadow [is] that hidden, repressed, for the most part inferior and guilt-laden personality whose ultimate ramifications reach back into the realm of our animal ancestors and so comprise the whole historical aspect of the unconscious. ... If it has been believed hitherto that the human shadow was the source of all evil, it can now be ascertained on closer investigation that the unconscious man, that is, his shadow, does not consist only of morally reprehensible tendencies, but also displays a number of good qualities, such as normal instincts, appropriate reactions, realistic insights, creative impulses, etc." ( Aion, CW 9, part 2, p. 266 )
  8. Jung shadow work?

    I consider myself as a student of Jung’s, though not in any formal sense. Reading his work has given me profound insights into my own experiences and made me feel not alone; perhaps more so than any other single teacher I’ve had. (I’d say though, as a whole, Daoism, qigong, meditation and aspects of tradition Chinese thought have probably helped me more.) I still find new depth in Jung even after nearly 30 years of reading his multi-volumed Collected Works. The deeper I go into my own experience, the greater is my understanding of his complex writings. The shadow is certainly one of Jung’s key archetypes. To state the obvious, if you want to formally do shadow work, work with an experienced Jungian analyst. I’ve never done this. For me, I’ve slowly gained insight into my own shadow through many years of real-life experience. I note my reactions. A strong adverse emotion response is a key indicator of hidden feelings. Ranting and feeling like I want to attack and destroy someone who has made some observation about me are a couple of red light indicators. And even noting these reactions, it can take years to gain insight into what I am suppressing. Key fact, we suppress our shadows because we truly are not able to handle these dark aspects of ourselves. My advice is don’t delve, just deal with what life presents you with.
  9. [DDJ Meaning] Chapter 42

    I've only browsed the more recent entries on this thread, but what I've read brought to mind this passage from Arthur Waley's introduction to his translation of the Daodejing, The Way and its Power....... “The branch of Confucianism founded by Mencius was profoundly influenced by the Ch'i-country Taoism which centred round the Art of the Mind [xin]and the tending of the Vital Spirit [qi]. In this there is nothing surprising, for Mencius spent much of his life in the country of Ch'i, now part of Shantung. Indeed, the passages in which Mencius deals with the acquisition of the Unmoved Mind and with the use of man's 'well-spring' of natal breath are unintelligible unless we relate them to the much fuller exposition of the same theories in Kuan Tzu [specifically the Neiye chapters]. Mencius, as we know, learnt the art of maintaining an 'unmoved mind' at the age of forty, that is to say on his arrival in the country of Ch'i, which happened about 330 B.C. “When asked about the method that he employed, he replied that he had cultivated the art of using his `flood-like breath-spirit', obviously an allusion to the system described by Kuan Tzu. Mencius however gives his own turn to this doctrine. With him the 'flood-like spirit' is something that is produced cumulatively by the constant exercise of moral sense (i). But it can only come into existence as an accessory of such exercise. Its growth cannot be aided by any special discipline or regime. “It is clear that Mencius is here combating the ideas of the yoga-practitioners who performed particular exercises in order to 'expel the old (i.e. the used breath-spirit) and draw in the new'. Those who try to force the growth of the spirit by means other than the possession of a tranquil conscience he compares to the foolish man of Sung who, grieved that his crops came up so slowly, tried to help them by pulling at the stalks.” From this and many other sources, it seems clear enough that cultivation was a central concern for the ancient Chinese. But exactly what types of cultivation were productive was controversial then as it is now. The reference to Taoist yoga-like practices shows the beginnings of what was later systematised into Neidan. Of particular interest to me is how Mencius emphasised morality / ethics. It became a part of Daoism and I’ve read that Daoist teachers in China still emphasise it. They call it cultivating inner nature ( xiu xing, 修性) and it's as central to their teachings as qi methods and techniques. It seems this vital aspect of their wisdom has found little traction amongst us Westerners.
  10. Tin Yat Dao Sect

    @Kar3n Am I replying to you as a moderator, or as a normal member of this forum? It creates difficulty when you come into a discussion wearing two hats. For instance, I have no problems with you describing Flowing Hands as “a self-proclaimed holy man” as a normal member, but I don’t think it’s appropriate for a moderator to do so, especially when warning said member about insulting others. The comments I post here are a reflection of where I'm at. I don't claim to be other than a person who's a mixture of both light and dark. I try to be constructive because I value this forum and regularly acknowledge the vital and often difficult role staff play. If Flowing Hands perceives my comment as an attack, that’s his business. When I write something I sincerely feel, I do so with the intent that others may find it helpful. And for me personally the responses I get, both written and in the invisible, help me gain insight into hidden aspects of my own psyche; especially insight into my own darkness. In that way my participation on this forum has helped me enormously in my personal cultivation.
  11. Tin Yat Dao Sect

    I find many threads on Dao Bums a rich source of insight into our human psychology. I read this one out of general interest. I have no knowledge of, and am not curious to find out about the sect in question. Whilst I’m personally not interested in bagging other people’s paths, the discussion here seemed to me to be well within the norms of this often lively and confrontational forum. Hence I was surprised at the moderator intervention. Especially as it did come across, in part, as a personal attack on Flowing Hands. Having said that, I do find it annoying that Flowing Hands claims the divine authority of Laozi for his views; views that come across as very human in their mixture of wisdom and folly. (In particular, his attacking behaviour on this forum is far removed from the sage of the Daodejing.) Like many of us here, he comes across as a flawed human, doing his best to follow an authentic spiritual calling. I personally think he has an inflated ego, but that is something that's common for people who have felt real contact with other dimensions. It's an insidious trap that everyone must work through in their own way. It's insidious because a person in ego inflation is totally unable to recognise it. (I speak from personal experience.) It can only be seen in retrospect.
  12. taoist books on working with the mind ?

    This is getting way off topic but I’ll add it anyway as it’s my own experience.... Speaking generally, I’d say all following of clearly defined paths is the mark of early / middle practice. For instance, the sort of clarity of practice that modern Neidan books present, such as Damo Mitchell’s excellent works and much of Thomas Cleary’s translations of Lui I-Ming’s work, is an illusion that everyone must work through themselves. They give the illusion that you're in control of the process, not ineffable nature, the mysterious Dao. That’s why the masters can only hint at their truths through paradoxes and cryptic verses. Fortunately, all things being equal, life is long and there’s plenty of time for the sort of personal exploration that slowly deepens insight over many decades.
  13. taoist books on working with the mind ?

    Yes ultimately, nature and real life experiences are our greatest teachers. There has to be real felt emotional engagement with life through personal trial and error. We all must find and walk our own unique paths. But written teachings can certainly form solid stepping stones along the Way. Books are a great gift for us all.
  14. taoist books on working with the mind ?

    Yes, those Thomas Cleary books are excellent for their clarity. I have them all and they’re what first drew me to Daoism almost 30 years ago. I’d call them foundational books. But now I’m older and hopefully a little wiser. I’ve learnt that these methods are only a small part of the Way. However, that’s certainly not a condemnation of their very real value. They’re solid stepping stones defining a path. My early favourite was Understanding Reality: A Taoist Alchemical Classic. And the one I still actively consult is Cleary’s translation of Lui I-Ming’s Taoist I Ching. That book is a gem.
  15. That's the title of a new book by Scott Bradley. Scott is an excellent communicator who has been writing on the Zhuangzi for many, many years. I greatly value his insights, even though I don't entirely agree with aspects of his interpretation. He has a website called Zhuangzi: A site for discussion of the philosophy of Zhuangzi and its applicability in today's world. About himself he writes: "Scott Bradley has long been a student of religion and philosophy. Among his corporeal wanderings was a15-year circumnavigation aboard his 32’ sail boat. His spin on the philosophy of Zhuangzi comes after many years of engagement with Zhuangzi, his contemporaries, antecedents and historical interpreters." About the Book This book presents a personal non-religious philosophy of life inspired by the 4th Century BCE Daoist philosopher Zhuangzi (Chuang Tzu). In the face of our irremediable not-knowing Zhuangzi suggests we abandon all supposedly definitive declarations of Truth and instead follow along with the trustful elan of life itself. This can lead to the deeply mystical experience of releasing oneself in trust into the Mystery that enfolds all things. Identified with Mystery, "hiding the world in the world", one is freed from all fear of loss. When life and death are taken as forming a single string, we can affirm our death just as we affirm our life. When no event or circumstance can happen outside the Great Happening our happiness depends on nothing and we can "wander far and unfettered" through life. If you feel the need for a guru, make one up. Who knows your needs better than your own heart? The author has written many sages and Xudanzi, the sage presented in these lectures, is but the latest. A dao (path) is made by walking it, and we all walk our own. Xudanzi's dao is only meant to inspire; your own authentic dao arises as you walk it. https://booklocker.com/books/10279.html