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[sacredlandscapelist] Paraphrase of the Secret of the Golden Flower, Part I

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  • Dan Washburn
    Here are paraphrases of the first three chapters of the Secret of the Golden Flower. The original is far more mysterious in its wording, has much more detail
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 25, 2000
      Here are paraphrases of the first three chapters of the Secret of the
      Golden Flower. The original is far more mysterious in its wording, has
      much more detail in its chapters, and has many more chapters than
      three. We are just getting started here.

      My perception of the Gospel of Thomas is that it says that Jesus is the
      Light that creates all things. You can let this light shine within
      yourself. When you see it not only in yourself but in everything, you
      are unified, at rest in God, experience the One, and reign over the All.

      The Secret of the Golden Flower says that by persistently turning the
      light of perception around both in meditation and in everyday life so
      that the origin of the light of awareness is revealed one reaches a
      state of unconditioned consciousness, of unity of being that is
      changeless but accommodates all change. The Golden Flower is the
      enlightened mind, the true gold elixir of immortality.

      The basic similarities between the Gospel of Thomas and the Secret of
      the Golden Flower are that the methods involve Light,. the result of
      the work is a state of Unity, and one becomes Immortal.

      The Thomas Christian is persistently aware of the origin of all things
      within the Light of Jesus. The practitioner of the Secret of the Golden
      Flower is persistently aware of the origin of all things within the
      Light of Unconditioned Consiousness.

      At first glance this would seem to be a difference between theology and
      psychology, between the outside and the inside, between God and the
      human mind. Consider though that the Gospel of Thomas says that the
      Reign of God is both within you and outside of you and that in the
      Secret of the Golden Flower everything arises in pure Awareness,
      including all concepts of self, so that Unconditioned Consciousness
      transcends the dichotomy of inside and outside.

      See my previous post on The Secret of the Golden Flower for some
      evidence on a possible historical link between the Gospel of Thomas and
      the Secret of the Golden Flower.

      Secret of
      the Golden Flower

      I. Unconditioned Consciousness -- The Celestial Mind

      The twin cultivation of essence and life:
      Essence is open and spacious awareness like the sky. Life is the energy
      of specific perception like light revealing an object. Reference to
      the two eyes means that both spacious awareness and specific perception
      are operating at the same time.
      Essence, open and spacious awareness, is the primal spirit -
      consciousness that is not affected by conditioning.

      The golden flower is the light of specific perception that has been
      turned around so that the light reveals its own origin. Awareness of an
      object leads not to other thoughts but to a consciousness of the origin
      of the awareness of the object. When you have turned the light around
      for a long time it crystalizes into the golden flower, also called the
      spiritual body. This means that one has become stabilized in
      unconditioned consciousness. This is the gold elixir of immortality.

      The light of specific perception is the master of unconditioned
      consciousness. When the light is turned around and directed toward its
      own source, environmental and psychological factors influence the mind
      less, with the result that the energy in the body is also preserved and
      purified because it is not drawn into conflicts with inner and outer

      II Unconditioned Consciousness and Historically Conditioned

      Only the essence of awareness, the open spacious awareness of
      unconditioned consciousness, transcends everything in the universe. If
      you can learn to preserve unconditioned consciousness, you can live
      outside of change and be unaffected by desire and form.

      Historically conditioned consciousness, the thinking mind, is supposed
      to be a servant of the original mind, unconditioned consciousness, but
      it usurps its authority.

      Water of vitality is the knowledge of unconditioned consciousness, the
      primal unity, the original mind. The fire of spirit is present
      awareness, the light within the historically conditioned mind. The
      earth of attention is the true intent and will of the mind unaffected by
      historical conditioning.

      The combination of water and fire in the medium of earth means the
      experiential realization of the unity of being that is changeless itself
      yet acomodates all change.

      Once unconditioned consciousness, the true nature of unified awareness,
      has fallen into the world of change it divides into higher and lower
      minds. The higher mind still participates in unconditioned
      consciousness, its energy is light and clear. The lower mind has
      energy that is dense and opaque. This energy sticks to the ordinary
      mind that has form.
      The lower mind is the substance of consciousness, it is the feeling of
      being a solid body physically present in the world.
      The higher mind sees and dreams. It is where true mind is concealed.

      Turning the light around to see its source refines the higher mind so
      that unconditioned consciousness is revealed. This interrupts the flow
      of conditioned consciousness in the lower mind, so that the lower mind
      becomes controlled.

      Refine away the dregs of darkness to restore pure light. Dissolve the
      lower mind and make the higher mind whole.
      Persist in this method, and naturally the water of vitality will be
      full, the fire of spirit will ignite, the earth of attention will
      stabilize, and thus the embryo of sagehood can be solidified.

      If students refine the dark lower mind completely, then it will be pure

      III. Turning the Light Around and Keeping to the Center

      If you do not sit quietly in meditation each day, the light of
      perception flows and whirls, stopping who knows where. If you can sit
      quietly in meditation, all time and phenomena revert to stillness.
      Truly inconceivable is this divine truth. This is the application of the
      method of reversal. Just observe clearly and when your breath grows
      quiet you then become accurately aware.
      The practice is one from beginning to end, but it goes from shallow to
      deep, from crude to fine. It is necessary to end up feeling that
      ‘heaven is open, earth is broad, and all things are just as they are.’
      Only this can be considered accomplishment.

      Turning around the light in meditation is the ‘firing process’ of
      spiritual alchemy, the process through which the gold elixir is cooked.
      After a hundred days of concentrated work a point of spontaneous real
      light appears. This is the pearl of the true positive energy, the light
      of the unconditioned mind. You should attend it calmly and quietly.
      After that you don’t need to sit still in meditation. Turning the
      light around is a matter of stopping and seeing. To stop the flow of
      thoughts is to turn around. To see the origin is the light.

      The center is everywhere, the whole universe is within it. Focus on it
      as a hint, don’t become rigidly fixated.

      To be Continued.

      Dan W.
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