On Going Along and Reversal
A ancient Taoist view on sustainability
Everyone in this world knows the path of “going along” but not the path of “reverse operation.”
What is going along? It means going along with the natural process. What is reversal? It means reversal of the natural process. Going along with the natural process gives birth to humans and other beings, the cycle of birth, aging, sickness, and death never ceasing. Reversing the natural process produces enlightened adepts who are neither born nor perish, having a life span equal to that of the universe.
Ordinarily, after people are born, as they grow up they become imbued with temporal conditioning; inwardly emotions and desires distract them from reality, while outwardly objects and events tax their bodies. They take the false to be real, take the aberrant to be correct, take the misery for pleasure, following their desires to any lengths, they deplete their original vitality, energy, and spirit almost to the point of exhaustion, and thoroughly obscure their inherent round and bright true essence, unwilling to stop until they die. Therefore they undergo birth after birth, death after death, sunk for myriad aeons; this is what is called oneself to one’s death even without having been called by the king of death.
People of great wisdom reverse the operation of the natural process, not molded by yin and yang, not compelled by myriad things, not changed by myriad conditions. Planting lotuses in the fire (Planting lotuses in fire comes from the Taoist tradition. It means being in the world ethically and creatively without being coerced by the negative influences of the world. You participate in the world (plant those lotuses) without getting lost in the many negative possibilities (without getting burned).
To be able to plant lotuses in the fire we must acquire certain practices and skills that keep us active on the creative path and not so easily distracted away from it.
It helps to know what negative influences are coercing you away from the creative or spiritual path. How are you coerced from living an initiated life? Is it alcohol or drugs, reruns, gossip, food, economy, false gods, self-doubt or distrust that coerces you? Or are you over-committed, depressed, . . .fearful?
Let’s each work on planting that lotus in the fire today by taking at least one step away from the distraction and one step toward planting), hauling a boat through mud and water, they make temporary use of things of the world to practice the principles of Tao, by 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 practice reversal in the midst of accord has a secret which is communicated verbally and transmitted mentally; one seek the guidance of a real 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 guidance, they become charlatans, self appointed preachers who are blind themselves and take in others who are blind. It is wrong doing this.
There are also mixed-up people who cannot recognize true teachers and go from one imbecile to another learning a few minor techniques and imagine they have the Tao; then, when enlightened people appear before them, they are unwilling to humble themselves to learn. They perform various practices at random: some consider descent of the energy in the heart and ascent of the energy in the genitals to be practiced and reversal, some consider the circulation of energy up the spine and down the front of the body to be the practice of reversal; some consider sending the vitality up to boost the brain to be practice of reversal, some consider holding the breath and steadying the spirit to be the practice of reversal; some consider taking the sexual energy of the woman to vitalize men to be the practice of reversal; some consider having the man below and the woman above to be the practice of reversal. There are thousands of such methods; they are all contrary to the path of sages and are not reserve operation of the natural process. They are all way to death, not to life.
What people do not realize is that the reversal means going back to the origin of life.
It is like someone who has left home and gone far away turning around and returning home. Although it is called reverse action, in fact it is action in accord with principle, so it is great accord with reversal. It is called reversal because it g contrary to the course of action of ordinary people. Those who have taken to auxiliary methods, with all intricacies, have been confused by the word reversal and have to come to do all sorts of practices in the physical sphere. In the end they will fall into emptiness. Is this not foolish?