SCHOOLS OF THOUGHT
THE COSMOS IS CONSCIOUS
A realization reached by every great spiritual tradition was that the cosmos itself was conscious; more than that, it was consciousness. This profound understanding of the nature of the Heavens was agreed upon by all of the ancient wisdom traditions without exception; the only division came with regard to how each tradition perceived this universal consciousness exist. Although the original teachings may have pointed towards a more ethereal approach to discussing the nature of the consciousness pervading all of life, successive generations added their own personified interpretation of the teachings, and thus gods and deities were created.
Daoism took a different stance and simply stated that the consciousness of the cosmos could not be described, discussed or understood in any great way. It was certainly not to be personified because it was beyond the limitation of form. Later, once again, the teachings of Daoism were distorted and the religion of Daoism was created, which included a whole pantheon of gods to be worshipped by its followers. Originally, this was not the case and rather than being a separate entity from humankind, consciousness was an integral part of it which could be accessed within each and every person on Earth, given the right training. The reason for this was the same rule that governs many areas of the Daoist tradition. Spirit or consciousness has to be rooted in energy which has to be rooted in form. If there is a single consciousness that governs the movements of the universe and everything within it, then it also has to be a part of every single form that exists as part of that universe. This train of thought led the Daoists to the conclusion that consciousness resided within every single thing that exists between the realms of Heaven and Earth, and this consciousness is once again a small part of the greater consciousness which governs all. Like individual cells that make up a larger organism, it is the consciousness within each of us that makes up the larger spirit of existence.
The closer we can come to the frequency at which consciousness exists is the frequency of Shen. This is the most refined of the ‘three treasures’ of Jing, Qi, and Shen that make up each and every one of us. Our Shen connects us back into the great collective consciousness. If we are able to understand how to cultivate and access it sufficiently. It is a two-way connection to the divinity that originally gave birth to existence.
White Moon on the Mountain Peak
– Damo Mitchell
In Indian thought (Vedic, Brahmanic, and then Hindu), the Word – vac was conceived from the very beginnings as a creative power, the “mother of the gods.” The Word was very early regarded as a symbol of the Godhead, or more exactly as revealing the divine presence within the cosmos, as the force that creates, maintains, and upholds the universe. Those ancient notions, while subjected to transformations, have never been obliterated: change in continuity, as is well known, is a characteristic feature of India, whose culture has always succeeded in remaining unmovable in its essence, while following a constant process of evolution.
The Word is an energy, and that the latter may be tapped and used by anyone who is able to penetrate its secret nature and mysteries. To the Indian mind indeed, in the beginning was the Word; but here the Word is a force: it is active and can be used for action. As early as Vedism, the knowledge of the supreme reality, the highest understanding, was founded on the knowledge of anthropocosmic correlations. The energy sakti is at the same time Word (vac), consciousness (cit, sayyid), breath, and vital or vibrative energy (prana); there are no absolute distinctions, no discontinuity between the human and the cosmic, the vital, the psychic, or the spiritual. All the developments of the Word can occur homologously within man or the cosmo. Such is the case with the evolution of the primal sound-vibration and the movement of the kundalini as form of phonic energy.
Thus we saw how the universe, meaning, and language take their root in the supreme Word, and exist there undifferentiatedly, in seed-form, endowed with the full kinetic force peculiar to a seed. Such a force will assert itself and these seeds will start to grow in the next stage of Speech, pasyanti, the “Visionary” Word. It is called pasyanti, “the Visionary,” because at this level there emerges in consciousness a kind of desire to see and a sort of initial vision of what will be manifested.
Pasyanti – She is both mobile and immovable and is attained by mental concentration. The forms of the objects of knowledge appear in her as immersed in consciousness, their forms being either resorbed or absent. All this appears in her in a variety of discrete aspects or as forms fused into each other, or it may appear as having lost all form.
Pasyanti, as we can see, does not manifest objectivity, but only the principle that gives life to this first obfuscation of the complete awareness of Reality, known as akhyati, and which will make consciousness perceive itself as different from objectivity. This condition of pasyanti is very close to that of the Supreme.
This unity is in fact apparent to everybody at each moment. However, within the domain of Maya, which is the sphere of differentiated perceptions (vikalpa), it is clearly manifest only at the juncture (madhya) between two cognitions. In this Centre resides the void (kha) of consciousness (free of though-constructs) which, divested of diversity, digests into itself all the psycho-physical processes that give life to the multiplicity of perceptions. The yogi moves from the particular vibrations of consciousness at its periphery to the universal throb of the Heart in the Centre.
All the categories of existence (tattvas) are united in the Heart of the Centre where the life-giving elixir of Siva’s consciousness floods one’s own inner nature. To reside in the Centre is to abide by the law of totality (gramadharma) in a state which transcends the workings of the mind (unmana).
The power in the Centre (madhyasakti) is the eternal Present. Beyond time it is the source of both past and future. To be established there is to abide without a break in Rama, the supreme enjoyer, in every action of one’s life.
Rama is Siva, the supreme cause Who pervades the fourteen aspects which embrace the entire universe of experience, namely, moving, standing, dreaming, waking, the opening and closing of the eyes, running, jumping, exertion, knowledge (born) of the power of the senses, the (three) aspects of the mind, living beings, names and all kinds of actions.
The Concept of the Word in Selected Hindu Tantras
Translation by Jacques Gontier
Several thousand years ago an idealism emerged where the Chinese were searching for the highest form of life of the human mind and body. They conceived the human mind to be an unlimited dimension, but the scope of human activity to be moderate. The focus of their goal was a unified philosophy of human life and a simplification of beliefs. This was the birth of what we know today as T’ai Chi thought. T’ai Chi became the invisible power that guided the movements of Chinese history for thousands of years.
T’ai Chi means “the ultimate.” It means improving, and moving toward the unlimited; it means the immense existence and the great eternal. All of the various directions in which T’ai Chi influence was felt were guided by the theory of opposites; the Yin and the Yang, the negative and the positive. This is sometimes called the original principle. It was also believed that all of the various influences of T’ai Chi point in one direction:
toward the ultimate. From the viewpoint of this theory, it is the interplay of constructive and destructive forces that causes the essence of life to materialize, the material world to manifest. And the spiraling movements of these forces seems endless.
Chinese Taoists, originally called mountain men, formulated the theory there is an eternal power that moves the universe. They called this ultimate power ch’i. According to the legendary theory of Yin and Yang, ch’i exercises its powers ceaselessly moving in a balanced manner between the positive (constructive) and negative (destructive).
Because the Yin and Yang powers originate from the ultimate power, ch’i, they are able to move freely without any external limitation, immune from the restrictions of space, time, and even the material manifestations of existence.
The Essence of T’ai Chi
Consciousness sets us free, but it also cuts us off from that state of unquestioning participation in nature which is full of meaning. And so, we find ourselves situated at the threshold of a great void, which is our new home. The way of transforming this void into a place where human life can remain whole and integrated is called, in the Chinese tradition, the Tao. Tai chi, at its highest order, apprehends the mystery of the Tao.
Tai Chi Chuan: The 27 Forms
– Marshall Ho’o
Lao-tzu, regarded as the founder of Taoism, said, “The valley spirit doesn’t die; this is called the mysterious female. The opening of the mysterious female is called the root of heaven and earth.”
The “mystery” is heaven, yang, the quality of firm strength; the “female” is earth, yin the quality of flexible receptivity. Yang rules movement, yin rules stillness. The movement and stillness of the valley spirit is the opening of the mysterious female.
This opening gives birth to heaven, earth, humans and other beings; its ultimately nonexistent yet contains ultimate fulfillment. In the human body it is the place where the physical elements do not adhere; right in the middle of heaven and earth, one hole hangs in space, opening and closing at particular times, moving and resting spontaneously.
Fundamentally it has no fixed position, and no form or shape; it is also called the aperture of the mysterious pass. The mysterious pass is utterly empty and utterly inconceivable; being and non being have no place there. It is also called the door of all marvels. “All marvels” means that it includes all principles and contains all virtues.
– Liu I-ming