Excerpted from the book Tao and Longevity by Nan Huaijin
Does the spirit actually leave the body during the transformation of chi into shen?
…There are many [Taoist] descriptions of being pregnant for ten months, suckling the baby for three years, and facing the wall for nine years that have led some people to believe that successful meditation must involve astral projection. The supposition is that the spirit or divine self has a fetal body of its own which ultimately shoots out of the top of the head and ascends into heaven itself. To believe that this is the way of transforming chi into shen is a serious mistake.
According to the Tan Tao school, yang shen (or positive spirit) and yin shen (or negative spirit) may both account for the projection of the spirit from out of the body.
In 1970, a young martial arts instructor embarked upon an ambitious project. His goal: to teach America about the full potential of martial arts, as a vehicle for both physical betterment and spiritual evolution. His name: Bruce Lee.
In the ancient spiritual text Bhagavad-Gita, Krishna defined two paths to the highest realization of human potential. For those inclined towards introspection and contemplation, Krishna recommended the path of transcendent wisdom, or Jnana Yoga. For more active and extroverted people, he suggested the path of selfless service, or Karma Yoga.
Blogger Steve Pavlina discussed these paths in his recent article Are You a Lightworker or a Darkworker? After insisting that mastery requires a polarizing commitment to one path—and one alone—Steve denigrated the path of self-knowledge:
If you polarize as a lightworker, you are dedicating your life to serving the greater good. If you polarize as a darkworker, you are dedicating your life to serving yourself. To use a Star Wars analogy, it is similar to deciding whether or not to become a Jedi or a Sith.
For a darkworker the level of unconditional love is directed inwardly as love of self. It’s like a highly concentrated form of arrogance. It may not be expressed outwardly in the form of a smug attitude, but inwardly the person comes to embrace the idea that s/he is the most important person on earth and should act accordingly. Honoring this perspective can actually lead to a state of peace that is virtually the opposite of humility.
While some might label the darkworker path as evil path, I dislike using words like good or evil to describe these paths. They’re really two different sides of the same coin.
Are the paths of lightworking and darkworking truly exclusive? To understand the flaw in this theory, let’s examine a tool that is literally dedicated to gathering cosmic light: the Hubble Space Telescope.
The Secret, a new personal development guide by Rhonda Byrne, is taking the nation by storm. In the last three months, the book has sold almost two million copies, and the DVD has sold one million more. Einstein, Beethoven and Plato knew and used it. Oprah loves it.
What is this “secret to unlimited joy, health, money, relationships, love, youth, and everything you have ever wanted”?
A conversation recorded by Terry Bisson:
“They’re made out of meat.”
“Meat. They’re made out of meat.”
“That’s impossible. What about the radio signals? The messages to the stars?”
“They use the radio waves to talk, but the signals don’t come from them. The signals come from machines.”
“So who made the machines? That’s who we want to contact.”
“They made the machines. That’s what I’m trying to tell you. Meat made the machines.”