Illuminating the Dao

Spirit-Mind Unity, Harmony and Wellness

By Michelle Wood

I met up with an acupuncturist friend at an Asian festival recently where a few of us were offering demonstrations in qigong and taiji. As often happens when qigong and taiji instructors get together, the talk turns to wellness.

This particular friend made a comment about the heart-mind, and the spirit residing in the heart. Most of us in the West link the heart to emotions or feelings, and regard the mind as something associated with the brain although the mind doesn’t really live there, either!

Before birth, the mind and spirit were one-in-the-same, they were not separate but unified. It is only after birth, as we begin to acclimate and interact with our physical surroundings that the divergence begins from universal consciousness into self-consciousness, and start taking on all those beliefs that may or may not serve us.

As a physical being, the mind is the realm of the activities of consciousness; intelligence (learning) and thought (judging). Judgments about the things we learn create emotions, and the combination of judgment and emotions manifest into your physical experience.

When thoughts/emotions and the feelings they create clash with your beliefs, they manifest as disharmony, and eventually accident or disease. When in harmony, they manifest as wellness.

Take the case of the marathon runner, a friend of mine. She trained for many months, was looking forward to the race with great joy and anticipation, but sprained her ankle just a few days before the race! Why? What happened? Was it an accident? Probably not. It was her belief, instilled when young that she would “never be good at sports” by a mom who didn’t want a tom-boy for a daughter, protecting her from the disappointment of miserable failure.

In order to please her mother, her belief system said she had to fail at sports. Had she started the race, some other accident would have befallen her so that she would not fail due to her own hidden, buried belief of inadequacy, but some accidental cause that would allow her to have tried what she loved but also to have pleased her mother by not being good at sports.

Had she known about this subconscious agenda of self-protection, she could have released the need to please her mother by avoiding sports, opened her mind to align with her spirit, and healthily, happily participated in the race. She probably would have done well, too!

This allowing is often spoken of in the Daodejing in the form of letting go, or doing without doing. Much more can be accomplished by letting go and letting the original nature of spirit to unify with mind than by struggling to overcome thoughts or feelings, even when it comes to illness. Maybe especially when it comes to illness

The importance of the mind as the seat of consciousness is that it is awake to the difference between Self-consciousness and Universal-consciousness. Based on that awareness, the mind guides or allows; it makes the choice to lead or follow.

Leading is an intentional activity, or activity based on knowledge or experience or emotion, sometimes sub-consciously as in the case of the marathon runner. Allowing is opening to the natural alignment of Oneness and integration with Spirit.

When you train your mind to calmness, crystal-clear clarity returns, old thoughts, feelings, and programs are released, and the mind reunites with spirit in the way you experienced before birth.

Here is a wonderful writing on the value of recreating the unity of mind and spirit, and how it leads to wellness.

The verse below is from the chapter on “The Secret Texts” of Sun Bu-Er (b. 1124), titled “Unexcelled True Scripture of Inner Experiences of Jadelike Purity” from the book Immortal Sisters: Secret Teachings of Taoist Women translated and edited by Thomas Cleary, North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, CA, 1996, pb, ISBN 1556432224

Sun Bu-Er was a famous Daoist Immortal Sister, having begun her studies in Internal Alchemy and Immortality at the age of 51. Though many of her works and poems teach alchemy, this one is about creating perfect health in the manifest, physical world.

The five energies correlate to the colors, the directions, and the numbers of the five pairs of organs; mentioned elsewhere in the writing are the liver, lungs, heart, kidneys, and spleen. Visualizations are common as a method to promote the flow of energy. As well as the physical energies, there are mentioned the elements of spirit that must be circulated and harmonized and combined into one: essence, sense, spirit, vitality, and attention.

Once the visualization practice with these energies is outlined, she instructs: “If learners would establish discipline, maintain stability, and produce the light of wisdom, by these three powers they can last forever, treading the movements of energy light and clear, stabilizing transformation so as to transcend to immortality.”

As you can see in the poem below, the energies of both physical and mental heart-mind and the spirit are called upon to join together for the manifestation of physical health. When they can do this, the nature of the human experience, before the divergence of mind and spirit, comes close to the original unity.

One mind produces right concentration,
Myriad forms are spontaneously arrayed,
Five energies are distributed through the quarters.
The five energies are pregnant with one spirit,
The one spirit pervades transformation,
Crystallizing and refining the original reality.
The original reality is not something with form:
It is neither existent nor nonexistent.
If people can penetrate this principle,
Then they’ll understand the pearl that unifies sense experience.

Then they’ll understand the pearl that unifies sense experience.

I hope you will spend some time contemplating the message in the poem. The first three lines describe the physical mind-body connection and the use of intention in circulating qi. The second three lines show what happens when spirit is in harmony with mind. Finally, it describes the unity that existed before birth. It is full of very valuable insights if you open yourself to those “ah-ha!” moments.

You may not be reaching for immortality at the moment, but health and wellness are certainly attainable! We look to the Daodejing verse 14, John C. H. Wu translation, to help with this consciousness allowing and harmony reuniting.

LOOK at it but you cannot see it!
Its name is Formless.
Listen to it but you cannot hear it!
Its name is Soundless.
Grasp it but you cannot get it!
Its name is Incorporeal.
These three attributes are unfathomable;
Therefore they fuse into one.
Its upper side is not bright:
Its under side not dim.
Continually the Unnameable moves on,
Until it retums beyond the realm of things.
We call it the formless Form, the imageless Image.
We call it the indefinable and unimaginable.
 

Confront it and you do not see its face!
Follow it and you do not see its back!
Yet, equipped with this timeless Tao,
You can harness present realities.

To know the origins is initiation into the Tao.

As with every truly great writing, a passage may be consulted and applied to present context and circumstances to gain insight into life’s questions and challenges. Here is how I would interpret this verse in the context of heart-mind-spirit unity consciousness and wellness:

LOOK at it but you cannot see it!
Its name is Formless.

Listen to it but you cannot hear it!
Its name is Soundless.

Grasp it but you cannot get it!
Its name is Incorporeal.

These three attributes are unfathomable;
Therefore they fuse into one.

These lines describe the heart-mind-spirit unity before you were born into a human being. Universal Consciousness or Oneness is Formless, Soundless, Incorporeal, and yet you were once integrated and an integral part of it.

Its upper side is not bright:
Its under side not dim.

This is a reminder that, in Oneness, there is no judgment. One does not know upper nor lower, bright nor dim, yang nor yin.

Continually the Unnameable moves on,
Until it retums beyond the realm of things.

This may describe the birth-death-rebirth cycles in which the heart-mind and spirit enter into the realm of the physical where they remain separate unless cultivated into Oneness, and then return to the non-physical, once again merged as they were before birth. It could also describe the result of that heart-mind-spirit cultivation.

We call it the formless Form, the imageless Image.
We call it the indefinable and unimaginable.

Confront it and you do not see its face!
Follow it and you do not see its back!

This is you before birth; a unified entity, whole and unhindered as pure spirit. Here you have complete harmony in being. You can know it and you can be it, but you cannot describe it in earthly terms; you can create it, but you cannot see it.

I believe this is akin to verse 47 which teaches that all knowledge worth Knowing is not what you learn by going out your door or looking out your window or traveling to distance places; it is the knowledge found in cultivating the heart-mind-spirit.

Yet, equipped with this timeless Tao,

You can harness present realities.

Along with inner knowledge and harmony, wellness begins as a state of mind, and since wellness is the natural state of the physical universe, many wonderful things may be made manifest when you are connected to the Universal Consciousness.

To know the origins is initiation into the Tao.

“To know the origins” can mean only one thing: to have returned to the harmonious integration and to live in conscious awareness of heart-mind-spirit; this is initiation into the Tao.

———–————–
[Michelle helps you Create Health through Consciousness and Awareness Development techniques such as qigong and medita-tion. Find her online at “Be Well with Qigong” http://bewellqigong.blogspot.com and “Be Well, Create Health: the Mind-Body Connection” http://bewellcreatehealth.blogspot.com/ She tweets on Twitter as bewellmichelle.]

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One Response to Illuminating the Dao

  1. Mary V says:

    Thank you ~ Enjoyed this pleasant and well thought out piece.. Peace!

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