How can I quiet myself enough to have my essential nature come through? I think one of the issues people have is there is some confusion has to how to even begin.
What is my essential nature? We may ask. An answer comes tugging at our sleeve, hem, shirt before long. It might be something like:
“I think I have some mute intuitive ideas but how can I be sure they are accurate? I seem to know what is not working and somehow somewhere there must be an observer watching to make this value judgment”. Cool! Such a simple thought might be dismissed as daydreaming, impractical or irrelevant. The still quiet voice points the way and we tell it to get out of way. Perfectly normal. Perfectly normal
Seemingly we have an observer there. And without any hoopla we can assume that there is also an observed. Can I be both? Welcome to the world of meditation!
Taoism examines patterns of nature for clues. The old system has sound logic: So goes the macro and so goes the micro. In looking for the authentic hidden in plain sight we need look no further than an eclipse.
In a solar eclipse the moon cast a shadow on the face of the Earth. For a short time only a small amount of light reveals the edges of a dark rocky moon, which most times is not what we see. What we normally see is the sun’s reflected light but we believe it is the moon. We believe the moon is bright, but it is not. It is hidden but there. Solid and real but hidden in brightness.
So, with us, what can we do?
Taoism talks of two aspects of mind: A shining bright mind of base awareness and a thinking mind of specific thought. The Shining Mind is like the light of the Sun in space: It is clear, invisible and undetectable. It is not available to us until it is paired with Earth, or the Mundane Specific, thinking, noticing Mind.
The Moon is like our essential natures. Our bodies, our emotions, our base natures are all there, but normally we only see their reflected images and not their dark essences.
I do not use the word dark in a negative or sinister sense; quite the contrary. I use it as a description of ‘hidden'; that which is revealed as in a buried treasure. Indeed, the TAIJI, better-known as the Yin-Yang symbol has been referred to as a treasure map. Although Yin and Yang seem to be the only essences in the map, they only have relevance from the standpoint of an Observer.
So, in meditation, who is the observer? It is the thinking Mind noticing both the shining mind and essential natures, but the paradox is that the only thing we have to see our essential dark natures with is the Mundane Mind itself.
Through practices like Qigong; intentional breathing, progressive relaxation, internal scanning, recovery, prayer, therapy and similar processes that get out of the fight or flight conditioning, we place the Mundane Mind in just the right place - just enough to permit it to view our own dark essence.
So, we use the mind and body to reveal essence. We use the very things that are the source of our difficulties to remove the difficulties. “there is nothing so wonderful as turning the disease into medicine” says The Secret Of The Golden Flower. This paradox is one of the constants in the world. From antibiotics to homeopathy to recovery to having a conversion of soul in the deepest of despair it is a process that can bring a type of change to the human heart and mind that noithing else can.