Tag Archives: Huainanzi

Thinking about The Thing Itself

Talking can occlude, and I’m not posting so much right now, but I’ve got things planned that will go in a new and I think interesting direction, tying everything together and inaugurating another phase of the blog. That new way should better handle talk about “the thing itself”, and also give a set of bamboo sticks one can push into the ground to guide understanding of Glenn’s practice, and Kundalini experience and ascent generally. Some people have been asking about that for a while and I think I have an answer or two coming up.

Meanwhile here are some thoughts on “the thing itself” which may be particularly useful if Kundalini is already active within you, or anyway worth bearing in mind:

those who seek for it externally lose it internally;
those who preserve it internally attain it externally as well.

Huainanzi 7.1

What you are looking for is what is looking — St Francis

That which you are seeking is causing you to seek — Zen proverb

I felt the sentiment of being spread
O’er all that moves.

— William Wordsworth, Prelude

It is like an infinite Ocean of Awareness pervading my own small pool of consciousness within and the whole universe I perceive with my senses, outside. It is as if a radiant living Presence encompasses everything that exists both within and outside of me.

— Gopi Krishna, The Real Nature of Mystical Experience

Unknown, unthought of, yet I was most rich,
I had a world about me — ‘twas my own,
I made it; for it only lived to me,
And to the God who looked into my mind.

— William Wordsworth, Prelude

That is, one, instead of being a pygmy, in this state feels himself to be a king, feels himself to be the master of what he sees. It is not the ego, it is the very condition of this consciousness. That is the reason why it is said that no mystic would change his state, even for a kingdom.

— Gopi Krishna, Last Interview

a person who can have the world is invariably
someone who will not strive for it.

Huainanzi 2.11

Though the myriad things are boundless in numbers, which of them will they not possess?

Huainanzi 2.4

All things were spotless and pure and glorious: yea, and infinitely mine, and joyful, and precious.

— Thomas Traherne, Centuries of Meditations

Their spirits:
cross Mount Li or the Taihang Mountains and have no difficulty;
enter the Four Seas or the Nine Rivers and cannot be trapped;
lodge in narrow defiles and cannot be obstructed;
spread across the realm of Heaven and Earth and are not stretched.

Huainanzi 2.12

Holotropic Spontaneity and Carl Rogers XVIII

Taoist Byways — 2 of 2

Harmony in Taoism is found within, but when it is found within, it is found in external events too. Hence for example Huainanzi 7.1:

those who seek for it externally lose it internally;
those who preserve it internally attain it externally as well.

Since it is lost if grasped externally, it thus does not appear in the world in the manner of “goodness” as normally conceived and held-to. The good is beyond rational judgment. Awakening reveals a deeper substrate one had missed or lost, by removing the judgmental categorisations of Self, at the same time as it reveals the secret unity between all things that goes right through one’s own heart. The regathering of the scattered, which in Hinduism is associated with the transcendence of Maya, is also a strong motif throughout Taoist alchemy, as mistaken notions of separateness fall away before the revelation of cosmic consciousness, which appears as a perfect harmony proceeding from and returning to Ultimate Mystery.

In Taoism harmony is thus seen as a treasure to be achieved, looked after, carefully protected and refined; it resonates with the world and can actually transform it, especially the human world, by the effects of its accumulated Te or virtue in human beings.

The Taoists plainly did have meditation procedures attached to their approach from the earliest times and always worked with chi. Moderation and simplicity in living, refusing excess, constantly turning again to the simple, and awareness of truth from multiple perspectives, are initial accents in Taoism. The Taoist classics will point the way to a deeper understanding of these concepts, and many others. I recently enjoyed getting to know Steve Coutinho’s entry for Zhuangzi in the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy:


… and wrote these posts partly thinking of that one. It’s a nice place to begin if you don’t mind more exoteric academic approaches, and will teach even experts a thing or two. As well as more obvious sources I particularly recommend studying the lesser-known Neiye, available in an excellent book by Harold Roth that discusses its mystical significance. The Neiye’s emphasis on quiet harmonious cultivation of the deeply potent Tao has inspired me a lot and is basic to Taoism. Reading the Huainanzi has also been fascinating recently.

As mentioned, it’s very nice that we have our own Western Taoist in Heraclitus. The resemblance of Zhuangzi and his sages to people like Milton Erickson or Walt Whitman, or indeed Glenn Morris, is very noteworthy as well. Particularly interesting to me is their ability to “be good people” in a surprising and unconventional way, that evades categorisation by being permanently harmonised with creativity, to be entirely themselves and in that capacity to extend “self” into deeper universality, which becomes Absolute whilst still flowing. An interesting approach to life, and one rather different from the norm whether in China or in the West.