Something often misunderstood within eastern arts is the concept of ‘silencing the emotions’. It does not mean you should stop having any emotions and become a robot. Rather, the teachings are discussing a state of consciousness not ruled by emotions such as; fear, jealousy, worry, grief, anger etc.
Most people operate on an emotionally driven ‘mind’ level rather than a consciousness level due to the emotional programming we receive throughout our lives. The continuous numbing of our consciousness happens through the education system, media, mundane work and other societal based structures aimed at creating a total mind-based state glorifying social status, money and the acquisition of material possessions. On a ‘mind’ level a person does not actually lead their own life because all the decisions and actions are being made through an acquired layer, which often is called the ego. This acquired mind is formed throughout our life from previous experiences that form our biases, likes and dislikes etc. The acquired mind distorts our vision of the present moment because we are living our life through the mirror of our past memories. Therefore whenever an event happens in our life, which for example creates fear, the acquired mind brings forth similar memories, and the previous experiences cloud the consciousness and this decides how you act in the present moment. If we can clean the mirror of mind we can see life clearly as it is without biases.
Whilst training in the Daoist arts, you are offloading and getting rid of stored tensions and built up emotions. The shed layers gradually enable us to peel back the layers of mind to enable consciousness to come forth. Then the real skill is to bring this consciousness out into everyday life, lead your life, carrying out actions and communicating without accruing more tensions and emotional disturbances. Everything we do and say has an impact on our life and others. We need to learn to live without having a negative affect, going through life without causing ‘ripples in the pond’. To do this we must first release previous disturbances and free ourselves from our attachments to previous events and meetings. This is what happens in the first steps of Nei Gong training; through the freeing of the lower Dan Tien. After this we should aim to become aware of our actions, thoughts and communication. Most of our life is lived on ‘autopilot’ and through the lens of ingrained habitual thought patterns. Whilst our mind and ego directs and rules, we remain unconscious.
We must reconnect with our consciousness and live in harmony as an integral part of the two poles of Heaven and Earth. After the releasing stage, we can invite Heaven and Earth to breathe through our body and connect ourselves to the forces of the universe.
The sage allows his or her actions to come from full integration of the universe (Tian), forgetting about their ego or any sense of ‘self’. When we are free of ego and selfishness, our actions and interactions do not cause any ‘ripples’ or affect other people’s lives negatively. Instead we create enough space for consciousness to interact with our life. This truly leads us onto the path of Dao and enables us to connect with our life destiny (Ming). At this stage you will experience many synchronicities that seem strangely unlikely and fortunate. This is because you are flowing in the same direction as your Ming and we are beginning to reach towards our full potential and development. Through practice, when we have managed to release many heavy, stuck mental imbalances and emotional hang-ups, this leaves space for something else.
As we inhale, we receive inspiration from above. The ancient Latin word ‘Inspirare’ means ‘in-breath’. The ancients understood that breathing, when you are in an open state of consciousness, gives us divine inspiration.
When we can begin to balance our emotions the five virtues can easier shine forth and our life can become guided by innate wisdom, compassion, patience, courage and contentment. In this state energy is not wasted on engaging with negative emotional patterns, instead we can use this energy with the help of Daoist practices to nourish our spirit instead; for inner cultivation. It is at this stage that parts of our psyche that normally lay dormant can wake up. This is what enables us to tap into what often are called ‘psychic abilities’. What we don’t realize today is that these abilities are what should be considered normal and any other state of being is actually a sign of imbalance.