Though any internal work is ultimately an attempt to transcend the realm of form, we must still accept that we live within the confines of physicality. To ignore the vehicle of the body and its interrelations with the external world of form is a  state of imbalance. Alongside this we must also realise the important nature of the work which we carry out as a part of our wider community. Though periods of retreat are important for our development, to live in full-time retreat is to deny as aspect of our being. The ‘impermanent’ phase of life is still an aspect of Ming which we are inextricably connected with.

The wider Ming of life is an interconnected web of cause and effect. No aspect of Ming exists apart from the wider picture of the collective. Like ripples in a pond, our actions and reactions reach out into the spiritual connection which manifest between us. Ming is a cycle of information out out and information taken in; this is a rule of existence. For this reason any true follower of the way recognises the importance of their expression out into the realm of Ming.

Integrity and Truth

Like attracts like. The spiritual ‘magnetism’ of the universe will bring to a follower of the way that which they put out there or else that which they need. In order to resonate with the higher aspects of this governance of Ming we must learn to express ourselves through the mediums of truth and integrity. Without these expressions we will only bring to us more distortions. A lack of truth brings an inability to perceive truth. Without a true experience of the world we cannot manifest integrity.

Truth is a result of dissolving of the distortions of Xing (our nature). It is not a ‘forced’ way of being but rather an expressed result of inner conversion.

Beneficial Work

The classical eastern path of beneficial expression is the art of healing. Healing may take the form of medicine, spiritual guidance or practical teachings. Human need exists upon many levels. These levels can be summarised as requiring the following interventions:

  • The practical level of the physical realm – charity, kindness and generosity are expressions of virtue for this level
  • Medicinal assistance on a physical level – the arts of Chinese medicine, nutrition and internal practice are aimed at this level
  • The spiritual freedom of consciousness elevation – the arts of alchemy, meditation and Nei Gong are aimed primarily here
  • The cognitive guidance of the spiritual path – the ancient ways of the spiritual path are as relevant today as they were in ancient times

Through engaging in such actions we work with the ‘magnetism’ of Ming to assist all beings on the path towards Dao. At first these are external expressions but with time such expressions become something deeper, an intangible spiritual ripple which moves out from our centre to effect those around us an a second-to-second basis. When this state has been reached then the ‘ripples’ of our actions are a true expression of virtuous being.

If we can understand this then there are no need for precepts or strict rules. Cause and effect is the key as well as understanding the need for ‘giving service’ and cultivating a kind way of being.