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About Yueya

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    月牙 yuèyá (Crescent Moon)

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  1. Dust on the mirror

    On the alchemical path the mud and dust are the primary materials for the inner work. For me, it's not about removing mental and emotional obstructions, or at least it's not about viewing them solely as obstructions. Rather, they have a dual nature. Viewed with acceptance they are my personal gateways into the Self. Within me their nature has slowly transmuted over time with a combination of xing and ming cultivation......Decades of inner work....Of always failing when operating with my ego in charge....Trial and error....Patience and humility.....A slow surrender to the wisdom of Spirit, of mind of Dao, of God. (I write as someone who's very much a work in progress. I relate to this motto from Western alchemy: "A warring peace, a sweet wound, a mild evil.")
  2. INFERNO !

    Although that road is nearby. I haven't needed to go that way so I can only relay what I've heard. It was closed for a couple of months after the fire because some of the small bridges were burnt out. They made temporary bypasses and got the road open again in January. Then the flooding caused by the massive February rains knocked out those temporary bypasses. (In Nymboida we had well over 600mm of rain in Feb, more than 100mm greater than the previous Feb record set in 1928. Total so far this year is about 850mm. By way of comparison in 2019 the year's total rainfall was 450mm, the driest year since 1915.) I've been flooded in on a few occasions for several days at a time this last month with Oakey Creek down the road a raging torrent across the causeway. A neighbour who lost his house in the November fire managed to get his expensive and uninsured Jeep swept away trying to cross it in full flood a few weeks ago. Fortunately he and his wife got out OK but the car is a write-off from water damage. The forest is looking very green here too but in that strange way you describe. Plenty of ground cover and growth down low but little up top. Some tree species have proved very fire resilient, not os others. I have hundreds of dead trees on my place, including some of my favourites. Much learning for me about detachment and letting nature take its own course from experiencing these extreme events.
  3. Projection

    Much in that essay of interest to anyone on a spiritual path. I like the Jungian perspective because, as Jung wrote, "The main interest of my work is not concerned with the treatment of neuroses but rather with the approach to the numinous. But the fact is that the approach to the numinous is the real therapy and inasmuch as you attain to the numinous experiences, you are released from the curse of pathology." Here's a passage relevant to some of the more heated exchanges on this forum: The most blatant manifestation of projections is in self-righteous political convictions—"isms"—and in passionately advocated theories, such as scientific preconceptions. As soon as tolerance and humour disappear, we can presume that projections have entered the picture. When we notice that someone is reacting with disproportionate affectivity in a discussion and begins to give in to the temptation to discredit his opponent, there are grounds for suspecting that he is projecting something on the opponent or his theory. If we have the useful habit of paying attention to our dreams, we will see that we often dream about such opponents. This gives us the signal: "Something about this opponent lies within myself." Even if only others are projecting, it is difficult not to be drawn in ourselves. Since affects and emotions are extremely contagious, it requires tremendous courage not to lose our level-headedness in group situations, as every group moderator or discussion-group leader knows.
  4. Projection

    On the topic "Anger as Power" @steve wrote: "It's fascinating to see just how much we tend to project of ourselves, imaging it's coming from outside. Endlessly entertaining, whether I observe myself doing it or others. Clearly some do it more obviously than others but when we are sensitive enough we can see just how pervasive it really is." Very true. Gaining insight into projection is an ongoing core aspect of my personal cultivation. And your observation of how pervasive it really is reminded me of this essay by Marie-Louise von Franz: PROJECTION and its Relationship to Illness and Psychic Maturation DEFINITION OF PROJECTION The depth psychologies of Sigmund Freud and of C. G. Jung have in common the use of the expression projection, on, but each uses it with a different meaning. In Freud's view, projection is a matter of a neurotic person's ridding himself of an emotional conflict by shifting it onto something else as the intended object. For example, a daughter transfers her incestuous desire to sleep with her father onto a father figure like a doctor or minister. In Jung's view, however, this is only one of many possibilities. According to Jung, all psychic contents of which we are not yet conscious appear in projected form as the supposed properties of outer objects. Projection, from this point of view, is a displacement, occurring unintentionally and unconsciously, that is, without being noticed, of a subjective psychic content onto an outer object.' In this process, the unconscious of the projector does not as a rule pick just any object at all but rather one that has some or even a great deal of the character of the projected property. Jung speaks of a "hook" in the object on which the projector hangs his projection like a coat. Quite often—here Freud and Jung are in agreement—projections contain unprocessed false characterizations stemming from early childhood. Sons or daughters who have experienced their father as authoritarian (whether he really was or not) exhibit the tendency to project on all fatherly authorities—such as a teacher, a minister, a doctor, a boss, the state, and indeed even the God image—the negative property "authoritarian" and to react to them in a correspondingly defensive fashion. That which is projected, however, when examined more closely, is not at all merely a memory image of the father but represents the authoritarian tendency of the son himself or the daughter herself. They themselves unconsciously behave tyrannically without noticing it, but are self-righteously convinced that they are constantly encountering tyrants in the outer world; someone they are relating with has only to provide them with a trace of self-assertiveness or of a domineering quality to use as a hook. Such projections, which are based on the first childhood experiences of father and mother, are particularly stubborn. Male doctors, for example, always have to reckon with a negative or positive father complex in their patients. Female doctors, on the other hand, have to deal with projections of the mother image. Social workers, teachers, and psychotherapists experience this play of projections every day. It is not only one's own negative properties that are projected (although this occurs more frequently, since one is less likely to acknowledge one's negative properties than one's good ones); the positive in us that remains unconscious can also be projected. This brings about love in the form of unrealistic, intoxicated fascination that completely overlooks the reality of the partner. PROJECTION AS AN ADJUSTMENTAL DISTURBANCE It is essentially impossible to determine what, of everything we feel, sense, think, and perceive concerning outer objects and people, is "objectively" there and what is not. From the Eastern point of view, the whole of the external world is ultimately maya, a world of projections manufactured by our unconscious vital energy (shakti). Western science is beginning to realize more and more that it is unable to grasp reality "in itself" at all, but can only develop mental models of it. In this sense, the whole world is actually a projection. But on the practical level of everyday life, it is best to speak of projections only after a person's mentally represented image or judgment regarding an object of the external world clearly and obtrusively disturbs his adjustment. This is a signal that the person in question should reflect and perceive that that which so confusingly fascinates him on the outside, either in a positive or a negative fashion, is within himself. In everyday life the disturbance generally expresses itself as an excessively strong affect or an exaggerated emotion (love, hate, rapture, fanaticism, etc.) or as an illusion or false assertion regularly noticed by other people that is not susceptible to simply being corrected like an ordinary mistake. But what is an "excessively strong" affect? Italians, for example, intentionally cultivate dramatic emotions. The English and Buddhists suppress even the affectivity that seems normal to others. Who is to decide what is exaggerated and what is not? In our case what usually decides in practice is so-called good common sense. However, ultimately it is a problem of evaluation, for which until now there have been no objective scientific criteria. For this reason, one should be very careful in one's application of the concept of projection. THE ARCHAIC IDENTIFICATION In reality we are just beginning today to wake up in relation to this problem. From the historical point of view, the original condition was one in which the inner and outer worlds were not sharply distinguished, that is, subject and object were to a great extent identified with each other. Jung calls this the archaic identity. The primitive consciousness, like that of children, initially lives in a stream of events in which events in the environment and the inner world are not distinguished, or only unclearly distinguished.' This is also our normal state, which is interrupted only from time to time when our conscious ego reflects. In our case as well, the continuity of ego consciousness is quite relative. Who, for example, goes so far as to reflect over whether the image that he or she has of a spouse is accurate, unless he or she is forced to by some disturbance in the relationship? Basically we are still bound to our environment by a whole system of projections; in fact, the projections even serve as the actual bridge between the individual and the external world and other people. The projections bring about the play of unconscious sympathy and antipathy, participation or rejection, through which our whole life is shaped. Only when our psychic energy for some reason withdraws from these projections, for example, when our love changes to rejection or our hate begins to seem ludicrous even to ourselves —only at that point is the time ripe, and the opportunity for reflection given, for us to acknowledge the hitherto unconscious projection. Here it is of crucial importance not merely to think that we have deceived ourselves but in addition to search until we have found in ourselves, very concretely and in terms of its actual practical effects, the element that has hitherto fascinated us in the outer world. For example, we hate someone because of his lying. It is not enough to think, "I myself lie sometimes"; rather we have to note that "on such and such occasions, I have lied in exactly the same style as the detested Mr. X!" When we acknowledge something like this, not only "academically" but in a real way, it generally causes a shock that brings in its wake a positive change in our personality, a movement toward maturation. Acknowledgement of negative projections as in the above example brings moral differentiation, for now the person in question must come to terms with his lying problem. Acknowledgment of positive projections usually means further responsibility for us: instead of boundlessly admiring Mr. X for his intelligence, I will now have to work my own brain a bit harder! Or instead of always vainly expecting warmth from other people outside me, I will have to learn to express more emotional warmth to myself. It is understandable that most people do not willingly acknowledge their projections. The most blatant manifestation of projections is in self-righteous political convictions—"isms"—and in passionately advocated theories, such as scientific preconceptions. As soon as tolerance and humour disappear, we can presume that projections have entered the picture. When we notice that someone is reacting with disproportionate affectivity in a discussion and begins to give in to the temptation to discredit his opponent, there are grounds for suspecting that he is projecting something on the opponent or his theory. If we have the useful habit of paying attention to our dreams, we will see that we often dream about such opponents. This gives us the signal: "Something about this opponent lies within myself." Even if only others are projecting, it is difficult not to be drawn in ourselves. Since affects and emotions are extremely contagious, it requires tremendous courage not to lose our level-headedness in group situations, as every group moderator or discussion-group leader knows. THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PROJECTION AND ILLNESS The Sender In every process of projection, there is a sender, that is, the one who projects something onto someone else, and a receiver, the one on whom something is projected. Interestingly enough, these two show up as two highly important factors in the history of medicine. Sending is found in the conception widespread among native peoples of sickness projectiles, a magic arrow or some other, usually pointed missile that makes the person it hits sick.' A god, demon, or an evil person shoots such magic "points" at people. Extracting the projectile causes the victim to be healed. In the Old Testament, God himself shoots such arrows (Job 6:4): "For the arrows of the Almighty are within me, the poison whereof drinketh up my spirit: the terrors of God do set themselves in array against me." Or there are invisible demonic powers (Psalm 9 1): "Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday." Among ordinary people, it is usually venomous slander that is experienced as such arrows. (Cf. Jeremiah 9:3,8; Psalm 64:4.) We might also note the relationship of the German word Krankheit, meaning "illness," and kranken, meaning "to wound emotionally." We still speak today of "barbs" and "pointed remarks." In India the word salya means "arrowhead," "thorn," or "splinter," and of the doctor who removes such arrows from the bodies of sick people, it is said that he functions "like a judge who removes the thorn of injustice from a trial." The thorn is obviously something like a bad affect that has created a legal uncertainty. Psychiatrists and psychologists know that pointed or sharp forms in patients' drawings and paintings represent destructive impulses. The positive projection, too, is a kind of arrow, which is why, for example, the god Amor and the Hindu god of love, Kama, carry bows and arrows. Buddha described the desire of love as "an arrow that digs savagely into the flesh." That it is more rarely evil people and more often gods or demons who send these arrows of illness is in agreement with the observations of modern psychologists that projections are not enacted by us, but happen unconsciously; that is, that they emanate from complexes or archetypes of the unconscious. (Demons = complexes; gods = archetypal images.) The Greek philosopher Democritus believed that the whole atmosphere was full of eidolo (images) or dionoetikai phantasiai (imagined ideas), which hover about us in dreams but also affect us during the day. "Only a subtle mind can distinguish them; ordinary people confuse them with objects of the external world."' Projection of one's own not consciously realized psychic contents brings about in the sender a "loss of soul," one of the most feared illnesses among native peoples. This makes one apathetic, depressive, or susceptible to the compulsive thrall of people outside one. The Receiver The person onto whom someone else projects something is also affected—in the primitive view, he is hit by an arrow. If the receiver has a weak ego consciousness (as children do, for example), he will be easily influenced to act out what has been projected onto him. In the primitive view, this means that he is possessed. We feel compelled to relate to someone else's infatuation toward us, or we involuntarily do the evil thing to the enemy that he is expecting from us on the basis of his projection. Children often act out the unconscious shadow side of their parents—that which is hidden in them but is not consciously realized. That explains the known phenomenon that children of especially well-behaved parents often do particularly devilish things. "Preacher's children and miller's cow, seldom flourish anyhow," as the proverb says. WITHDRAWAL OF THE PROJECTION C. G. Jung distinguished five stages in the withdrawal of a projection: 1. The initial situation is the archaic identification. An inner psychic content is experienced completely as the behavior of an outer object; for example, one might believe one has been bewitched by a stone. 2. The stone itself is distinguished from the bewitching element, and the latter is described as an evil "spirit" in the stone. 3. A judgement is made as to whether this spirit is good or evil. 4. The spirit is declared to be an illusion. S. One asks the question "What could have led to this illusion?" and recognizes it, not as something outwardly real, yet as an inner psychic reality, and one attempts to integrate this. Many problems in the comparative history of religions and in the formation of academic hypotheses can be cleared up through seeing things as ordered in these stages: archaic identification, animism, moral evaluation of a culture's own gods (as in the case of the ancient Greeks), enlightenment, recognition of a psychic reality. People seem to experience strong resistance against any and all progress within these five stages, but especially against progress in the last, the fifth stage. This is based on the fact that any withdrawal of a projection lays a burden on the reflecting person. He becomes responsible for a piece of his psyche that he has hitherto regarded in an unburdened fashion as not being part of him. A psychotherapist must therefore painstakingly weigh how much he can ask a patient or partner to acknowledge. The ego consciousness is like a fisherman in a small or large boat; it can only accommodate as many fish (unconscious contents) on its boat as will not make it sink. Sometimes one is compelled to permit the analysand to continue to believe in evil spirits or people who are persecuting him, because the acknowledgment that he has this devil within himself would literally kill him. But even people with the greatest capacity for acknowledgment have their limits. So-called archetypal complexes (pictured as God or gods) cannot be integrated at all, because otherwise they would overexpand the personality in a way tantamount to an inflation (conceit, delusions of grandeur). It is wiser to understand such archetypal contents as psychically real collective powers with which one cannot identify oneself, but which one should attempt to render favorable through relating with them carefully (acts of respect, offering, speech = prayer). From this point of view, the various religions of the world were and are all psychotherapeutic systems that make it possible for people to relate with these archetypal psychic powers in projected form more or less with impunity. This is the ultimate basis of the connection between religion and medicine. THE CONSEQUENCES In spite of the resistance mentioned above, a tendency toward the development in man of an ever broader state of consciousness seems to emerge, which at the same time means an expansion of his psychic realm through the withdrawal of projections. The significance and positive consequences of this are easy to perceive. The more a person knows of himself and the less, therefore, of himself he projects onto others, the more objectively, illusionlessly, and genuinely he can relate to himself and to truly other people. Here ultimately lies the distinction between sympathy or infatuation and real love, or between hate and objective rejection and detachment. All progress in mutual understanding and improvement in relations between people depends on the withdrawal of projections. For such progress, however, a price must be paid: the cozy "stall warmth" in which we can let ourselves go ceases to be possible; gossip and the pleasure of a temper tantrum with the triumphant "I told you so!" cease to be possible. For this reason, in my view it would even be sad if all people were suddenly to become "wise" and acknowledge their projections. The game of divine folly must after all continue. But wherever projections lead to death and murder or to severe hardship, it is advisable to reflect. This, however, is such an unpopular act that generally it is only done in circumstances of utmost emergency. Today, however, the overpopulation problem and the crowding of people that it has brought about has actually created an acute state of need, which in my view makes it absolutely necessary for us to consciously realize more of our true nature instead of continuing to burden others with our projections in an infantile manner.
  5. Nature of God is also Sunyata?

    Bindi, I'm replying here rather than on the "Differences between Daoist and Buddhist understanding of emptiness" thread, because my wish here is not to engage in a discussion about the differences between Buddhist, Daoist and Christian conceptualizations. Although I consider philosophies / theologies vital as anchors for our human consciousness, I’m also interested in the underlying oneness of spiritual experience that underpin the words. And as all these three terms, Godhead, Sunyata and Dao, are words for our deepest ineffable experience, to try to distinguish them on the basis of characteristics which they don’t have is meaningless outside of our very real need to to create conceptual houses and cities in which to live because we need their shelter. When I was younger I had more energy and much need for such conceptual understanding. To this end, engaging in Dao Bums discussions has helped me enormously in both gaining increased conceptual clarity and in moving through my need for it. Now at almost 66 years of age and after 20 years of living close to nature, this poem attributed to Zen nun, Ryōnen Gensō (1646-1711) makes perfect sense to me: Sixty-six times have these eyes beheld the changing seasons of Autumn. I have said enough about moonlight; ask me no more. Only listen to the voice of pines and cedars when no wind stirs. (And fortunately no one is asking me anyway unless I choose to engage.)
  6. Nature of God is also Sunyata?

    Some further thoughts.... Getting back to the question of the OP, the Christian God as normally understood is clearly not Sunyata in that he has definite characteristics (considered masculine, to name but one) and has an agenda to uphold. What I see Meister Eckhart was trying to do was to explain the arising of his Christian God within the immeasurably vaster 'empty' oneness of Sunyata that he had experienced. Furthermore, what he attempts to speak of using the term 'Godhead' is familiar to me because it sounds like Dao. So now I've drawn another parallel. Godhead, Sunyata, Dao. I'm interested in other people's insights into this. @SirPalomides It will take me a while to properly read and digest your above post. The terms used in Christian language are foreign to me.
  7. Nature of God is also Sunyata?

    Underneath we are all dealing with the same spiritual reality. However the conceptual framework gives rise to different ways of expressing inner experience. Hence I find it insightful to compare the descriptions from different religious perspectives. That’s why I particularly like Meister Eckhart’s (non)description of the Godhead. To me the ineffable experience he’s trying, with some small success, to express in Christian terms is the same experience that Sunyata refers to within the Buddhist conceptual framework. (I write this as someone who's much more comfortable and familiar with the conceptual framework of classical Daoism.)
  8. Nature of God is also Sunyata?

    Agreed in the sense that Meister Eckhart speaks of the Godhead: Meister Eckhart's theology knows a "Godhead" of which no qualities, except unity and being 1, can be predicated 2; it "is becoming," it is not yet Lord of itself, and it represents an absolute coincidence of opposites: "But its simple nature is of forms formless; of becoming becomingless; of beings beingless; of things thingless," etc. Union of opposites is equivalent to unconsciousness, so far as human logic goes, for consciousness presupposes a differentiation into subject and object and a relation between them. Where there is no "other," or it does not yet exist, all possibility of consciousness ceases. Only the Father, the God "welling" out of the Godhead, "notices himself," becomes "beknown to himself," and "confronts himself as a Person." So, from the Father, comes the Son, as the Father's thought of his own being. In his original unity "he knows nothing" except the "suprareal" One which he is. As the Godhead is essentially unconscious so too is the man who lives in God. In his sermon on "The Poor in Spirit" (Matt. 5 : 3), the Meister says: "The man who has this poverty has everything he was when he lived not in any wise, neither in himself, nor in truth, nor in God. He is so quit and empty of all knowing that no knowledge of God is alive in him; for while he stood in the eternal nature of God, there lived in him not another: what lived there was himself. And so we say this man is as empty of his own knowledge as he was when he was not anything; he lets God work what he will, and he stands empty as when he came from God." Therefore he should love God in the following way: "Love him as he is: a not-God, a not-spirit, a not-person, a not-image; as a sheer, pure, dear One, which he is, sundered from all secondness; and in this One let us sink eternally, from nothing to nothing. So help us God. Amen." Notes: 1. "Being" is controversial. The Master says: "God in the Godhead is a spiritual substance, so unfathomable that we can say nothing about it except that it is naught [niht ensi]. To say it is aught [iht] were more lying than true." 2. The Master says: “To this end there is no way, it is beyond all ways.” (from C G Jung, Aion)
  9. Weather Magick

    Agreed. Making mistakes and following false paths is an aspect of how Dao teaches us. This is something that must be individually learnt through experience. Trying to protect people from their vulnerabilities is treating them like small children. Sure it can lead to great hurt, yet, for me, my greatest insights have arisen from working through my deepest suffering. Spirit speaks to us through our vulnerabilities, and through our resulting suffering tries to guide us to greater alignment with Dao. However, relevant to this thread which I’ve only browsed, I get no impression that Josh is a charlatan. Quite the opposite. I find him sincere. He is not trying to deceive people by presenting himself other than he is. With his colourful manner, he is keeping alive some of the magical aspects that have always been a part of Daoism; indeed, as has been mentioned, a core part. Having said that, I will note one deception. (An obvious one I would assume.) My impression is that Josh is primarily here not to engage with Dao Bums as a discussion forum, but rather to use it as a place to make known his own web content. And the way members here have given him so much attention speaks volumes for his success. In that way all these equally sincere and well intentioned warnings are actually counterproductive and will only serve to send to him those who feel an attraction to his path. Such is the way of our chaotic human psyche with its myriad of opposing inner forces.
  10. Xing and Ming cultivation

    Many good comments here. Yeah, but...... For me deeper down, I only do this because, all thing considered, it's the easiest path for me. That's how Dao works, why it's sometimes referred to as the watercourse way. Mine has been a path of following my desires, of doing what I felt like, and then dealing with the consequences. Initially these consequences were almost entirely unpleasant. But slowly through an alchemical process of refinement using the whole of life as a cauldron, my desires have slowly transmuted into something far more harmonious with Dao. This could also be called a path of following one's heart. And sure, I am forced to gain insight into rotten aspects of my heart. No way is this pleasant! Yet it's still the easiest thing for me to do because not dealing with it feels like stagnation and a slow death of my heart, of my soul. That's what happens with ming-xing cultivation. My alignment with Dao strengthens and I'm compelled to act accordingly because I gain a glimpse of an awe inspiring deeper reality. Sure it can be difficult, but it's meaningful difficulty. And always it's about finding the easiest way through. Through a long process of inner exploration, of trial and error, I've found that the easiest way through means continually refining away obstructions within my psyche that hinder my intrinsic alignment with Dao. The alternative, which Bindi has mentioned, is the false path that's she's called spiritual by-passing. However, if that or any other path is truly false, then it will eventually self-correct because it will increasingly feel wrong – providing a practitioner has not turned off their emotions. And I become more sensitive to increasingly subtle levels of such falsity in my life through the long and fraught process of working through my desires to refine my emotions. That also means I naturally want to move away from dependence on chaotic human heart attachments (including predefined paths and associated teachings) to more subtle and coherent connections with the numinous heart-mind of Dao.
  11. Xing and Ming cultivation

    A note on conditioning..... Keep in mind that all knowledge down to our use of words is conditioning. That includes all Daoist, Vedanta and Buddhist theory, for instance. That’s why I make the distinction between unhelpful and helpful conditioning. I wrote some more about it here. @freeform You write with great clarity and I very much appreciate your input here. I respect your experience, your knowledge of theory and your obvious sincerity. Although I deeply relate to what you're about as a practitioner, the reason I haven’t been adding “Likes” to your posts is that although my path is also an alchemical one, it’s runs a markedly different course from yours. (I write this for my own clarity and for the benefit of those who may think that these well trodden and well articulated paths, such as you, Dwai and others write about are only true ones.) For instance, relevant to this discussion, I have no notion of formal stages or of where my life is heading. How my path unfolds for me is a great mystery that reveals itself in its own way over time. I believe everyone must ultimately find their own unique path and that all true enlightenments are individually shaped. That why I like these simple observations..... “On the path there are two rules only: Begin. Continue.” “Anything can be a path, even a demon. Anything can be a demon, even a path.” Hence, I don’t think any of these details concerning the rights and wrongs of paths and where they ultimately lead us really matter, other than to gives us some transitory guidance and to help anchor our human consciousness. The more I observe myself and other people, the more I accept that we are all where we need to be. We all gravitate towards our own best path. My path is the the best one for me. Your path is the best one for you. For those who practice with sincere intent, Spirit guides us whether we’re aware of it or not.
  12. Xing and Ming cultivation

    By saying body and mind I meant it as an expression that includes all subtle formations. But really, none of his stuff can be adequately expressed in language, though some people do it better than others. And well written posts are always a pleasure to read. I consider myself only a mediocre verbal communicator. I come here and participate as part of my practice. I like to read what others write on topics that interest me. And when I write something I like to read the replies. For me, it’s not so much what what’s written that counts, though knowledge and expression are certainly important. What concerns me the most are the feelings I get. Deeper than just the words and the reactions of people here, my participation regularly proves a valuable way for Spirit to reveal insights into hidden aspects of my psyche. Shows me how my attitude is in harmony or disharmony with Dao. And this usually bears scant relation to the knowledge being discussed.
  13. Xing and Ming cultivation

    Thanks Bindi. You’re fortunate to have such strong dream guidance. I’ve had nothing like that, although, along with a number of teachers, Cleary’s Taoist I Ching has proved an excellent guide for me. And I’ve needed heaps of guidance. I’d have to say that I have no natural talent for life. My path of shedding unhelpful conditioned consciousness has been hard won through dealing with my general uncomfortableness with embodied life. Hence I’ve made and needed to work through countless errors. Some huge, such as a period of intense heroin addiction when I was younger. And in retrospect, such ‘errors’ have provided me with my greatest learning experiences. The stark choice, change or die. For me, Ming and Xing cultivation just means working with methods that better align both my body and mind with Dao. Although these are intricately intertwined and therefore not two, there’s clearly cultivation methods focused on each. For me, as someone who’d learnt through many years of education to overvalue thinking, qi gong type body focused practices were the most beneficial in my early years. But related theory has always helped me enormously, my understanding of it deepening with qi gong practice, my praxis deepening with my understanding. Now I’m comfortable using the whole of life as my alchemical cauldron. I’d say Spirit, the mind of Dao, tries to continually speak to us all through events in our lives, through feelings, but we can only adsorb it to the degree that we can let go of ego and surrender to its great wisdom. However, when I was younger my life was so out of harmony with Dao, everything was meaningless (or, at least, only superficially meaningful in culturally constructed ways.) I was free to do whatever I wanted, no spiritual guidance held me to a path. Now that’s not the case. My path becomes clearer as I get older and manage to improve my alignment with Dao. Clearer and hence narrower in the sense that I feel uncomfortable when I stray. Which, having written this, reminds me of how I noted the instructions for Neidan are intricate. So too I could say are instructions from Nature. Yet the more I’m able to stop interfering, the more they’re able to change me ‘self so’, spontaneously, effortlessly. So that intricacy becomes simplicity, just like the unfolding of nature.
  14. Xing and Ming cultivation

    Thanks for noting this Bindi. I'd go further and say it's a completely natural process if a person's conditioned consciousness doesn't interfere. All neidan practice does, if done correctly, is to try to speed up the process. That's why there's so much intricate instruction and so much danger of error. It's not a path I follow. It suits some people's temperament but not others. I prefer to allow the process to unfold in its own time under the infinitely wise guidance of Nature. Sure it's slow, but it's thorough. And all things being equal life is long.
  15. Daoists in popular literature and film

    Here's one you can download for free from Project Gutenberg. The tales were collected and edited from original sources by Richard Wilhelm. It was published in 1921. There's aspects of Daoism in many of these stories from Chinese popular culture. I have an excellent commentary on the one titled The Disowned Princess. It's written with much reference to Daoism, alchemy and the I Ching by Marie-Louise von Franz, a close colleague of Carl Jung's and a specialist in fairy tale interpretation. It's published in her book Archetypal Patterns in Fairy Tales.