More from Four Hundred Words on the Gold Elixir


One of Many
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Seattle, WA
Namaste all,

for your edification.

(from the chapters on Going Along and Reversal)

People of great wisdom reverse the operation of the natural process; they are not bound by the natural process, not molded by yin and yang, not compelled by myriad things, not changed by myriad conditions. Planting lotuses in a fire, hauling a boat through mud and water, they make temporary use of things of the world to practice the principles of the Tao, by the human Tao completing the celestial Tao. They uproot the mundane senses conditioned by history and sweep away all acquired influences. They rule their own destinies and are not ruled by fate. Restoring the whole, original being, they avoid compulsive routine, transcend all worlds, and become incorruptible.

But this celestial mechanism of practicing reversal in the midst of accord has a secret which is communicated verbally and transmitted mentally; one my seek the guidance of a true teacher, for it cannot be known through arbitrary guesswork. Students all over the world use their own meager light and narrow views, memorize a few sayings, ponder a few mystical stories, and think they know the Tao; seeking no further for guidance, they become charlatans, self-appointed preachers who are blind themselves and take in others who are blind. It is wrong to do this.

(from the chapters on the Firing Process)

However, the firing process of spiritual work is not a matter of years, months, days or hours; it applies to every moment -- doing first what should be done first, doing later what should be done later, hurrying when one should hurry, relaxing when one should relax, advancing when one should advance, withdrawing when one should withdraw, shifting effectively at the appropriate times.

What should be done first is establish inward discipline; what should be done after that is to deflect externals. When one should hurry is when one is applying effort; when one should relax is when gently nurturing. When one should advance is when celestial energy is insufficient and should be advanced; when one should withdraw is when mundane energy arises and should be withdrawn.

This is the true principle of the firing process. It is not the yogin's theory of advancing the yang fire at midnight, withdrawing the yin convergence at noon, and bathing at six A.M. and six P.M. It is also not the theory of advancing the yang fire at the winter solstice, withdrawing the yin convergence at the summer solstice, and bathing at the vernal and autumnal equinoxes.

When reading such books, you should understand the ancients' intent in choosing symbols and making verbal formulations; once the meaning is realized, the symbol can be forgotten. The thousand books on the path of cultivating reality are all in symbolic langauge; though the images they choose are not the same, they are all used to clarify yin and yang, going along and reversing, the medicines, real and false, and the order of the firing process. They do not talk about anything other than this.