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Si Xiang : The four aspects of the spiritual path

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Training of the four spiritual aspects is a traditional method of explaining the Kan-Li Accomplishment, one of the three stages of Taoist spiritual enlightenment.

The four aspects are :

Initiation – Purification – Rebirth – Accomplishment

Training implies the presence of  Nei Gong (internal training) or a « Weapons Path » (a serious combat practice, not ritual) as part of any practitioner’s practice.

This training comes after working on Nei Dan (Internal Alchemy), the final stage of developing the qualities of the mind.

In the reality of training, it is often more practical to incorporate everything at once, time being a pressing factor.

The stage of the Shadow Warrior

This is the moment of becoming aware of the Way or of a need to follow a path.  A contact, or meeting, anything could potentially generate this need to go further, to understand one’s life.

But having realized the need, few among us will go on to practice: we are stuck in our prejudices and our habits, our confidence and the size of our ego.

It is the start of a battle, a fight between your desire to go through with it and the refusal to become a « student », to accept learning. 

We are going to fight against the shadows, the most restless and  heaviest aspects of our being. There are high chances of losing oneself, of staying in our comfort and our illusion of satisfaction.

This aspect of the practice is under the sign of the Black Tortoise, sign of the land and of our morbid calculations.

Only one thing can get us out of this state : passing through the Door, the start of a Way, the Initiation.

After practicing for some time, it will be possible to go further by truly committing oneself to a chosen tradition. It is not an obligation, the Way is also a path to health and a martial path which do not require an opening into the spiritual.

The purification brought by the White Tiger

The problem with our mind, is that it is restless and has long since escaped from our control: the tool has become the master and the master now takes orders from the tool.

Even the idea of the origin of all things, the Wu Ji, is stillness and the perfect availability towards creative manifestation.

To have access to this stillness, to this particular quality which is at the center of our profound nature, we must clarify and align our day to day life.

Somewhat like a device which no longer functions properly, and of which we are unable to understand the dysfunction, it is preferable to take everything apart, clean everything and put it all back in place.

We are there at the stage of dissecting our life : our actions, our thoughts and our emotions are going to have to bathe in the benevolent luminosity of our attention.

The White Tiger appears only in the face of perfection, therefore we are going to clean everything, reformat everything, study everything to head towards this perfection.

It is really written to examine oneself and to make corrections of oneself, not to become the little judge of the world around you, to give your opinion about everything and criticize others.

In destroying our habits and in observing our behavior, we clarify our life.

Immobility and tranquility will be able to transform us.

Riding the azure Dragon to be Reborn

Thanks to the preceding efforts, an availability and a tranquility set in, which will allow the energy from Heaven into our life.

This exposure to the « Way of the Heavens » will gradually transform us and allow us to dissolve the remnants of our old way of functioning.

Through this training, we will experience on a regular basis states which unify us with the Greater, that transcend our humanity.

Riding the Dragon, we move towards the Heavens, but always come back to the mundane. after having glimpsed superior states, pulled back toward the Earth by our habits and our beliefs to which we cling so much.

Incapable of renouncing my self-importance and accepting another way of seeing the world, it is impossible for me to be reborn without first dying.

That is the catch to riding the Dragon, that to be reborn as something else, one must first overcome this way of living.

The trouble of being reborn, is that one must die.

Accomplishment : Glory of the Vermilion Phoenix

In the case that I accept death and that my exposure to my maintained awareness is continued, due to bathing in and sensing constant energy, it will be possible to live in a new way.

Rising up from my ashes, in an availability to a balanced energy, with a water – fire balance in my body/mind, there is the Kan – Li realization .

At that point we live in a different state, permanently, but without being absent from the world.

There we are, present for our loved ones and working with others, yet conscious of the different aspects of the world unified with the way of the Heavens.