Pondering the Tao and Essence of Things
by A. C. George
During esoteric ‘work’ (not to be confused with notions of mental and physical labor) I find myself confronting various philosophies and working the light of meditation within their conceptual labyrinths. These threads of esoteric conception are more like islands in the nebulous ocean of conception-free ‘understanding’ in which one who dives within may find themselves after much practice. I reference the islands or threads, if you will, so I may extend the formulating mind into a medium of existential clarity beyond structures of codifying intellect.
This has several advantages, such as bridging the mind to meditative states- so long as one does not confuse the conceptual finger with the direction in which it points. Another advantage is that one can organize philosophical coherence to help structure applications of esoteric representations. In common jargon, one can practice occultism without proverbial risks (a topic for another day). The following diatribe is one such example of deliberation, prompted spontaneously, but also for reasons I have implied above. It is not a work of scholarly study. It is a work of interpreting understandings within the state of esoteric immersion using conceptual building blocks offered by a profound and ancient esoteric perspective.
This writing is an examination of conceptions of Taoist existential cosmology. To begin let us clarify the fundamental concepts of yin and yang. Let’s focus on the original semantic definitions. The analogy used is a mountain in relation to the Sun. The Sun is not yang. The sunny side of the mountain is yang. The shady side of the mountain is yin. Therefore, the mountain is the object of examination, and the Tao is the “Way” of the cyclic change. In that Way, the shady side becomes bright and the bright side shady. The process is the motion of the Sun’s light upon the mountain during the course of a day, but our experience is that of the transformation of the mountain. The essence of the mountain remains the same, but its circumstances change. There are implications with lack of sunlight and implications with its presence. It is the same mountain, the same world, but in one case a fertilizing factor is added. We can see in this cycle that the conditions of the shady side are the default ones, the ones that define the mountain on its own merit.
Yang and yin are both the mountain, the latter unfertilized and in its natural state, and the former fertilized and impregnated with light. It is important to avoid conceptual pitfalls here. Because yin appears to be a needy state and yang a satiated state, we might assume yang is good and yin bad in terms of our usual reactions to those labels: to grasp the good and fight the bad. To clarify, I conceptualize yin as a state of desire, a state receptive and yielding, but also magnetizing that which it receives.
It is desire that drives the cycle. The spirit pole is drawn in, the desire or will pole draws it in. The presence of spirit, of consciousness; that which patterns identity, is immobile as a corpse when existing in isolation. It is powerless because power is desire. It is static because it is homogenous. As such it is no-thing. Yet without it, nothing can be, since it provides patterns with identity-reference and sense of self, making coherence possible.
The forces of yang and yin, on the other hand, are dynamics of the receptive matrix in its default state of desire and its impregnated state of fulfillment. Those terms are inaccurate, however, because fulfillment does not imply the end of a journey or the culmination of all motive in blissful satisfaction. The nature of manifestation is the cycling of Taiji (‘Omnipolar’ existential dynamic), as opposed to Wuji (‘Apolar’ existential dynamic).
The term ‘polar dynamic’ in this context involves interactive structures, whereas the lack of any interaction, or any structure for that matter, is described as apolar. All is dormant, nothing is going on etc. This is rather a purely non-referential state, similar in that respect to spirit and desire, when both are isolated from each other. Spirit naturally requires desire to trigger its movement, and the will requires presence of spirit to trigger the desire that triggers vibration that embraces spirit to move. It moves in three ways, the second being the most natural and ‘pure’: a) It embodies an established pattern; b) It is drawn by desire and c) It rides its own desire, or the desire extending from inherent bonding with desire, like the tip of a tongue extending from closed lips.
In the context of existential energetics, the Wuji is the ‘ground state’ and Taiji the expressive outcome of growth from existential potential to existential kinesis or being/becoming. The pole of potential is apolar and the pole of kinesis is omnipolar. It should be obvious that the word ‘pole’ is used in a very loose sense to convey the referencing from the a-polar to the polar state. Otherwise, it erroneously makes the un-structured and un-patterned appear to be part of a structure. In practice both spirit and power (will/desire) have their inherent states of non-polar potential, and their interactive polar dynamic states. The latter refer to the Taiji or kinetic omnipole of existence. This is what beings of manifestation experience for the most part.
There is a belief that existence involves mechanical cycles of creation destruction or the monotonous oscillation from omnipolar to apolar states. It’s as if existence is exhaled ‘outside’ the apolar state, which then feeds on it or just draws it in to destroy it, and bring its evolved complexity down to its entropic ground state. The idea to me appears contradictory, since breath implies kinesis and potential is the ultimate non-kinetic state. Nourishment, furthermore, implies metabolism (or its metaphysical equivalent), or some dynamic of existential kinesis to say the least even if we pull the “it’s only a metaphor” card. Even metaphors require some consistency or some form of explanation of inconsistency. They are false if they cannot represent what is allegedly beyond direct intellectual rendering.
If we observe the allegorical structure of two poles, one of which is apolar and the other omnipolar, we are encouraged to also posit a center or core dynamic that defines the allegorical references as poles in the first place. This is the state of equilibrium between existential kinesis and existential potential. Tipping toward kinesis leads to a headlong rush into an entropic ground state (death in other words). Tipping toward potential leads to denial of kinetic freedom, which is confinement and suffering. Desire itself regulates this dynamic balance but only if and when spirit is fully accessible to it for both bonding and un-bonding.
Un-bonding in an unbalanced state of limited existential resourcefulness is a process of suffering leading to death. In a balanced and resourceful state it is a process of transformation and renewal, because we experience a release to make space for a deeper of my coherent to one’s existential integrity fulfillment. The dynamic of Tao is that of ultimate balance and resourcefulness. It is the core state wherein that apolar dynamic is accessed and the omnipolar dynamic is free and naturally unconditional.
The core state is itself a state that resembles yang and has been confused with spirit. But its natural archetypal association is that of divine heart. It is both omnipolar and apolar in nature. Rather than being an impregnation of the will (feminine) aspect by spirit as the yang pole of the Taiji, it is an equilateral and intrinsic fusion state, its own basis. Rather than the light falling upon the mountain, nourishing it, it glows from within every atom of the mountain itself, at one with the mountain’s natural essence, metaphorically speaking.
This core is the existential condition where the apolar ground state and the omnipolar spiral of becoming are co-existent (even as their being apart in the first place is also a convenient conception rather than a literal truth). This inherent unity liberates existence to choose from all possibility to create its own matrix of probability upon which to build further aspiration. It sounds cliché, but the essence of it is love. [to be continued, maybe].