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Michael Winn

The 4 Rings of Love Qi: Primordial Tai Chi

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What's the link between Un-conditional Love and Qi? I LOVED writing this essay, from my forthcoming book Primordial Tai Chi: Way of Enlightened Love.



Dear Lovers of Awakening Self-Love with Sacred Movement,


One of my life goals is to get Westerners to more deeply experience the amazing range of Qi flow that Taoist qigong and meditation cultivates. This is an infinite process of Self-discovery and Self-Realization. But writing ABOUT Qi (chi) is not the same as experiencing it. So why bother spending four years writing a book about a qigong form - why not JUST DO IT?


Well, I've been DO-ing that. But I've found that mental and emotional expectations act as strong filters for many Westerners who contemplate or actually try out qigong. So they often don't get the depth of experience that is possible, had those filters been removed, had their vision been opened wider.


I decided one worthwhile thing I could do is to help Westerners make the link between Qiand their notions of Un-conditional Love. For the Taoists, Qi is the carrier wave for all spiritual qualities, including all kinds of love. Because the Taoist map is cosmologically so deep, Qi embraces or expresses many different levels of love. That is what this excerpt from my introduction is about. My introduction is titled: Awaken Self-Love with Sacred Movement.

I hope you enjoy it. Of course, DO-ing it is better than reading about it. Hope to see you in Asheville for the certification training OR meet you in the ethers at one of my home-study courses!





Self-Love Needed to Complete Human Destiny

The vibration of Cosmic Self-Love is embedded into our human soul spark. At the moment we enter the sperm-egg union of our parents’ love-making, this spark, carried by Yuan Qi (Original Breath), is what ignites the cellular multiplication we call conception. It means the feeling of Self-love is now downloaded by the soul spark into a physical cell, which eventually becomes a body and personality.


As our cells proliferate, the spark is reborn in the nucleus of each cell and into our DNA. This is why Taoist micro-macro cosmic theory says we humans are driven by the same cosmic forces that drive Creation. The Qi pulsing in the nucleus of each of our 80 trillion cells is linked to the Qi pulsing inside the nucleus of the trillioins of stars above.

If we do not realize Human Self-love during our lifetime, we have failed to achieve our highest destiny or full creative potential. If we don’t fully participate in the core self-loving process of Creation or Nature, at death we will suffer from a feeling of incompletion. We may even have a feeling of shame from having failed to honor the impulse of Cosmic Self-Love within our human lifetime. In the Taoist view, this is a failure to achieve becoming a True Human (zhengren). Thus many people die as only “partially realized” humans – like flower buds that failed to open their wonderful fragrance.

It’s human destiny to explore creative Ways to love ourselves and by extension, the Cosmos-Inside-Ourself. Doing Wu Ji Gong for nearly two decades has helped me deepen the process of loving my Self. It has opened my heart in ways previously unimaginable. I feel it has matured the True Human within me.

I could die peacefully right now. But I love my Self- process so much that before dying I want to complete my new mission to share this alchemically transformational technology. I want the rest of humanity – with all seven billion souls - to learn what was originally called Wu Ji Gong ("skill at entering the Supreme Mystery"). I’m accepting my potential to live to the age of 150 years, to allow plenty of time to spread this sacred dance. I feel it will be key to the spread of a heart-centered global spiritual science that unites religion and material science.

This Rumi poem touches in words the same deep truth that Wu Ji Gong, a.k.a. Primordial Tai Chi, captures in sacred movement:

If you want money more than anything,
You’ll be bought and sold.
If you have greed for food,
You’ll be a loaf of bread.
This is a subtle truth:
Whatever you love, you are.


I see Primordial Tai Chi for Enlightened Love as a sacred ritual dance or ceremony. If we “love it”, we'll do it passionately to celebrate our love for the Cosmic creative process arising within our own body. Then we graduallly remember and reclaim the primordial ocean of divine love as our Self. If we drink just one drop of Self-love every day, slowly the glass of our ordinary body-mind fills up with this deep pure primordial love. Eventually it overflows from our soul and saturates our everyday body-mind as a tangible feeling of Self-love. Self-love is the primary benefit. The secondary benefits will be radiant good health and feelings that spontaneously spread out to family, friends, and the world as other kinds of love.

Tao ‘Cosmology of Love’ Diagram

In my diagram below, I juxtapose and integrate Taoist and Western philosophy and psychology. I posit a love trinity of Conditional Love, Un-conditional Love, and Pure Love. Pure Love has two phases, Yang Creative and Yin Stillness at Source. This love trinity roughly corresponds to the Taoist trinity of Yin, Yang, and Yuan Qi that govern all levels of Creation. This also parallels the root trinity known as the Three Treasures: Human Qi, Earth Qi, and Heaven Qi. I explore these parallels more deeply in chapter 2, “What is Taoist Cosmological Qigong?”.

What’s important here is that every human holds all three types of Love Qi within their body, as we are a microcosm of the universe. My diagram has four rings and a 5th center which is the Wu Ji, the Unknowable Source. What we can know are the four different dimensions of Self-process that arise from Wu Ji, which collectively embrace the process I call Self-Love.

The Four Rings of Self-Loving Qi

Like my diagram, Wu Ji Gong creates four rings in its ritual movement, each ring defined by a paired cycle of Earth and a cycle of Heaven movements that are performed around a 5th axis. The axis is the Primordial Tai Chi adept standing in the center of the four rings/8 cycles.

Wu Ji Gong’s ritual movements in four rings match the four rings of the diagram I have created for integrating the Taoist notion of Qi with Western notions of Love. But let me be clear – this diagram is not an abstract mental exercise. It reflects my own life relationships and self-exploration using Wu Ji Gong and inner alchemy meditation over many decades and in many relationships.

Let’s summarize these 4 rings of Love Qi, organized into four quadrants, whose lines of evolution form a cross within the 4 rings. Each quadrant defines a progression of Self-awareness and Self-love. To better organize all this information, I assign a direction to each quadrant, putting South at the top as per the original compass which the Chinese invented. Chinese pinyin terms are in parentheses.

South. Four Kinds of Love: Conditional Love –> Un-Conditional Love –> Pure Love (yang creative) –> Pure Love (yin stillness).

North. Four Phases of Self: personality/ego (xin, heart-mind) –> soul (ling) –> oversoul (da shen, great spirit) –> original self (tai yi, great oneness).

East. Four Levels of Body: physical body (jing) –> energy body (qi) –> spirit body (shen) –> original body (dan),

West. Four Kinds of Love Qi: post-natal Qi –> pre-natal Qi –> true Qi –> original breath (yuan Qi).

Center. Wu Ji: Un-knowable Mystery



When we view the diagram by rings, we can apply the Taoist naturalistic view to it as well:

4th Ring: (outer): Lunar realm, personality-body reflects light.

3rd Ring: Solar realm, soul radiates light.

2nd Ring: Stellar realm, 12 oversouls of zodiac. eternal light of collective cycles.

1st Ring: Unity realm, central sun, clear light of original cosmic being.

Center: Wu Ji, unknowable realm, origin of all universes. This diagram refers only to our unique Cosmos. It’s likely other universes may exist that operate on different principles.


Ceramic Torus-shaped bagua, found in Chinese flea market. The shape of the Taoist Love Cosmology diagram and the shape of the eight cycles of Wu Ji Gong both create a Torus. Many scientists consider our Universe likely to be donut-shaped, as this allows energy to flow in and out in perfect equilibrium, while the center holds stillness.

The progression within each direction through the four rings is from one’s outer body-space towards one’s core inner soul back to source-space. The four rings of the Taoist Love Qi diagram thus mirrors the structure of the Wu Ji Gong form exactly. I believe this progression from outer ring to inner ring reflects the path of evolution for most humans.

Wu Ji Gong’s movements are designed to form a spherical Torus shape. This shape creates an awareness within us of concentric levels of our ability to merge with different levels of consciousness without losing our center. No matter which ring of love or space we are focused on, the adept never leaves the center of the ritual space. Ultimately, it is the adept at the center of the form that integrates all four rings of Love. In Book 2, titled Primoridal Tai Chi: The Way of Inner Alchemy, an entire chapter is devoted to the importance of the Torus in grasping the essence of the form. Its title reveals much: Torus: Shape of Infinite Creativity & Love? Finding our Authentic Self in the Hole of a Spinning Donut.

Four Rings of Sexual Attraction

The Tao Cosmology of Love diagram mostly focuses on the different qualities of Love as Qi and Shen. It does link Conditional Love of the personality to Jing, the essence of our substance or body. But it’s important to understand that every dimension has its own subtle sense of body or jing. Taoist yin-yang theory is essentially a sexual theory, and it operates in all dimensions at increasing more subtle polar attractions. This may be why the Tao Te Ching by Lao tzu is filled with birthing metaphors and references to the Mother-of-all-things.

I discuss this in detail in a Book 2 chapter titled Love and Sex in the Primordial Realm, but I feel it would be useful to mention the core idea here – that there is a form of sexual attraction and coupling present in all dimensions of this Cosmos. Taoist Internal Alchemy is the science and art of coupling these polar forces in order to shape one’s highest intent or destiny. These subtle levels of sexual attraction can be mapped onto the 4 Rings as follows:

4th Ring (outer): Conditional Love -- sexual attraction between bodies.

3rd Ring: Unconditional Love -- sexual attraction between souls.

2nd Ring: Pure Love (Yang phase) -- sexual attaction between Creator matter-Goddesses and spirit-Gods (a.k.a Oversouls), who couple parallel soul timelines (perceived by humans as past-future).

1st Ring: Pure Love (Central Sun- Stillness) -- sexual attraction between dimensions. This is what One Cloud’s inner alchemy formula The Congress of Heaven & Earth is about – the sexual coupling of the Three Pure Ones. Early (Formless) Heaven copulates with Later (Form) Heaven in order to return to and renew Primordial Heaven.

Center: we cannot know if there is an innate supra-cosmic sexual impulse to birth universes, but it could be inferred from what emerges from the Wu Ji. This a sexually very fecund cosmos.


Cultural Confusion Over Meaning of “Love”


Most people are highly confused by love and constantly change partners because their bodily organ spirits are not in harmony and not aligned with the four rings of Self-Love mapped in my diagram. Their Love Qi is scattered in the many random directions their life has led them. This scattering of their Qi fatigues people, ages them, and slows down their spiritual evolution. Wu Ji Gong could help anyone to gather and focus their love for life, for themself and others – IF they choose to use this process.


Let’s clarify common confusions about the word “love” in our culture.


Love is held up as a “highest value” in many modern Western cultures, and is constantly exalted in popular song and film. This is epitomized by the Beatles pop song, “All you need is love, love, love.” But let’s look beyond the never-ending “lip service” paid to love. It’s easy to become programmed by unconsciously adopted cultural ideals and language. Overuse of the term “love” has degraded and clouded its practical meaning.


Putting the word “unconditional” in front of “love” is mostly meaningless in our culture. We use the phrase “unconditional” for positive reasons, usually to inspire ourselves to be more loving toward others. But during three decades as an energy healer and spiritual teacher, I’ve observed that people rarely love their own body-mind unconditionally. Even when they consistently do their best to act lovingly towards others, or believe they are unconditionally loving “the world”, they fail to include their body. By some sleight-of-mind their own body is not actually included in the “world”.


Loving one’s entire Self is just plain hard work, even when surrounded by people who love us and we love them. Why do we ignore our body, and often leave it out of the love equation? We all hold dark, mostly unconscious ancestral and collective karmic forces within our psyche. But we keep them hidden, out of sight, buried within our body.


These patterns sit there like a dark cloud or miasm, confusing and weakening us and obscuring our innermost truth. They are like dark clouds blocking the sunshine of our inner heart, our soul love. Good, loving parents raise apparently decent kids who suddenly become mass murderers. It’s not enough to be loved by others or our parents. We have to learn to deeply love our own self and all that we carry buried within ourself. Or those unconscious patterns may come out in twisted and dark ways.


Unconditional Love is Often Ungrounded


Unfortunately, many use the idea of unconditional love as a way to judge themselves or others against some imaginary, unattainable standard of selfless behavior. We adopt these standards from our favorite saint, spiritual teacher, or some inspiring book. But unconditional love can become an empty concept or quality projected onto others, or an abstract ideal borrowed from others. In short, our un-conditional love is often DIS-embodied and UN-grounded.


My conclusion: true Self-love is a special loving awareness that arises naturally and continuously within our own soul. When “we” (as the personality) love that soul force hidden within our body, it harmonizes the dark and light sides of our body-mind. We shift to a deeper, more neutral place from which to witness our personality and its light and dark side workings, expressed via our body.


This neutrality or non-attachment to our patterns is very liberating. We may become aware of higher dimensions of love - from our Oversoul and from its Source. The body of the outer world and our human body become a helpful mirror for our process. They also reflect our progress – if successful Self-lovers, we feel healthy, abundant and peaceful.


It’s easy to say, “I love my Self!”. One of my favorite Chinese proverbs is, “Talk does not cook the rice”. How do we most effectively achieve real Self-Love? Can a movement ritual really support achievement of Self-love, or merit my other name for it – the Way of Enlightened Love? That is the central question I hope to answer in this book.


For me, the clear answer is Yes! The heart-opening moment after I first learned Wu Ji Gong revealed to me a quick snapshot of the true meaning of embodied Self-Love. Self-Love is experienced when the ordinary, struggling, everyday egoic self allows our own Soul or True Heart to fully presence its love. That soul love flows from an awakened heart into our struggling personality, into our brain and body’s pulsing physical heart. It gradually erases our resistance and suffering. It finally overflows out into our relationships, where it colors with happiness our perceptions of the world.


My thesis is that there is an energetic structure ingeniously embedded within Wu Ji Gong’s movement ceremony. This allows us to better access the underlying forces of our psyche that seek love, but are still unconsciously blocked. The ceremony creates a safe space for those forces to quickly come into consciousness and be resolved.


How Unconditional Love Sometime Fails Us


St. Francis of Assissi shown loving the suffering body of jesus and loving the body of animals & birds. But could he unconditionally love his own body?


A good example of how we unconsciously adopt culturally distorted models of unconditional love is St. Francis of Assisi. He died at age 42 from severely poor treatment of his body, which he contemptuously called “Brother Jackass”. He was a wonderful soul who unconditionally loved animals and other humans (who are also animals!). But in my definition, he did not unconditionally love himself. His shadow side came out in the way he treated his own body. Yet he is often held up as the model of unconditional love. But most ignore that it was a love applied to other souls, but not himself.


In the West, people may hate themselves or their life due to their unconsciously absorbing Abrahamic religious ideas (Islam, Christian, Jewish) about humans being guilty of Original Sin or being separate from God. In the East, a similar negativity may arise as people absorb Buddhist & Hindu determinism that their suffering is due to bad karma from previous lives. Believers may get focused on resurrection, reincarnation, transcendence or emptying themselves to get rid of the stain of being human.


In short, in most religious traditions you have to die to get to heaven; heaven doesn’t exist on earth. This bias often filters down into cynicism about all worldly life and promotes beliefs or values that tend to have an anti-body, anti-female or anti-environmental bias. These paternalistic cultural-religious patterns essentially value Spirit over Matter, sky gods over earth goddesses, deities over human beings, promote arrogant beliefs in dogmas of the Above controlling the Below, and greed or exploitative ideas over protecting the living environment.

The widespread presence of these biases naturally makes it challenging for modern people raised with these cultural-religious ideas to truly feel Self-love in the physical world, in this NOW moment. The Way of Inner Alchemy that is embedded in Wu Ji Gong gives equal value to Spirit and Matter/Body. It has an equal number of earth and heaven cycles. It sees them cosmologically as arising from the same original essence, and equally essential to Creation evolving to its highest potential.


True Self-love for the alchemist is free of guilt or perception of separation. This kind of Self-love lived in the Present Moment is the easiest and most direct solution I’ve found for healing the human condition. Self-love is a real and permanent path to dissolving the many layers of the illusion of separation. It is the ultimate test of whether you have integrated the often abstract notions of pure or unconditional love into your physical life. Self-love begins with loving your BODY.


Self-Love is Not Self-ish


Self-Love is not “selfish” in any negative egoic sense, but just the opposite. It is love of our deepest integrity, the personal self’s meeting point with the cosmic Self. It is the pure love we feel for our Self-as-Process of endless embodied growth.


What creates incentive for egoic selfishness is the ordinary view of our finite Self-as-separate-body. A photo snapshot of this Self or its body at any one moment will not capture our true essence. That still photo is a Thing. Self-as-Process is a continuum, an endless movie.

Self-love is our physical mirroring of the Life Force’s dynamic fluidity, revealed during this eternally looping Soul Movie that links our Primordial, Collective, and Personal Selves. Human Self-love reflects the flow of Cosmic Self-Love. Both seek to create a flow of balance and harmony here in the physical plane.


Self-love is not an abstract idea. It’s how we express our deepest unconditioned being through a physical body-mind that is totally conditioned. We are basically born carrying deep sexual and karmic tensions, loaded with ancestral patterns. It takes a whole lifetime for these patterns to unfold so that they can be healed and re-integrated back into the totality of Self.


Self-Love Awakens Multi-dimentional Memory of Source


This book is titled Primordial Tai Chi: Way of Enlightened Love because I wanted to emphasize the unity of all leves of love, personal to universal. I discovered that along with the Inner Smile, daily practice of this unique Tai Chi-Qigong-Bagua movement ceroemony was an easy and powerful way to deepen our feeling of Pure Love from Source. It helps us feel that love on the entire spectrum of Personal-Self, Worldly-Self, and Cosmic-Self.


Enlightened Love is simply another way to describe Self-love that embraces our multi-dimensional Self’s vast interconnected web of relationships, and reawakens our conscious emanation of Pure Love from Source. In the Here and Now.


Most important, this ceremony’s sense of cosmic directionality allows us to locate our soul or Energy Body’s center of spiritual gravity in physical time/space. This is the best form I have found for both physical grounding (to earth below) and spiritual grounding (to core self within).

Why is our physical position in time/space so important? This is the hidden truth behind all feng shui, the science of Directionology embedded within Wu Ji Gong. Our deepest memory of Pure Love arises as we emerge from Source. But our Original Feeling of that moment is lost as we get polarized and stepped down into a material human body.


We have the imprint on our soul of this Original Feeling of Pure Love, but the body-mind forgets it, as its vibrational memory get scattered in all directions by the chaos of physical life. The Original Feeling is very subtle, and its challenging to hold on it or remember it in our body’s slow-vibrating, left-right polarized brain.


Yet this positional imprint of Original Feeling of Pure Love from Source acts like a GPS system for our Soul on our Return Journey. Wu Ji Gong activates our memory of this Original Feeling as it causes our Qi to flow into the quadrants of the 7 sacred directions (front-back, left-right, above-below, and center) that form the simplest matrix of Time, Space, and Human Feeling. Wu Ji Gong is designed to energetically scan all directions, and then gathers that information into our core/center/portal within our body that leads back to Wu Ji / Source.


This spiritual Tai Chi form re-awakens our Original Self-memory and thus satisfies our deepest longing for loving and being loved unconditionally by the Divine/Source/Tao/Wu Ji (or whatever language satisfies you). Doing the form activates our spiritual GPS. Wu Ji Gong is the process of remembering our true POSITION in the matrix of Time/Space/Feeling. That re-membering (which literally means “re-embodying”) is what gives our soul peace.


Read more here

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