I wasn’t far from the Firepit, sharing time at a primordial level. A visit with the Ancestors. A Community in the Void. To find answers?
Or perhaps just to realize which questions to ask?
The fire crackled as the Earthly aroma permeated the crisp night air. Whorling upward, coiling with widening arms like that of our spiral galaxy, the Milky Way. Norma-Cygnus, Sagittarius, Scutum-Crux, and Perseus all reaching outward, embracing you, inebriating you with the release of GrandFather Sun’s stored energy. Burning as brightly as our Dantians within, our Seas of Qi. A dynamism unmatched. A gift from the Great Star Nation.
Where would these forces of Nature take me?
My intuition instructed me to focus on the flames, the smoke, the forming coals, the glowing embers. They took on their characteristic checkered pattern, those coals, the weaving of flames through wood. A braiding down the length of each limb as they wrapped themselves in reverse spirals from the smoke.
But then, something else.
I began seeing symbols etched into these glowing branches. Hieroglyphics, pictographs, petroglyphs, but not carved or drawn in caves, or on stone walls, or in high temples. No these were living, breathing messages from beyond. Ever changing and vanishing with the smoke.
I made mental notes, my own snapshots in time, hoping to recall this mysterious language later. And suddenly two words in English appeared, embedded in those coals.
And then they were gone. Charred ash fallen to the ground. Reduced to the same Stardust of their original carbon composition. Of what we are all hewn from.
I took this as a literal meaning. There are “no limits” to this lifetime. Only limitations we place on ourselves.
But as with all messages of this type, it takes time to solidify, to integrate, to release hidden meanings. Or perhaps synchronous ones.
Present day. I was running through a QiGong routine and one of the standing meditation poses is called Wuji, or the Bear Pose.
As you settle into this position, you are elongating your spine, the Crown of your head is pulled up by an imaginary Golden Thread drawing it up towards the Heavens. You tuck your chin but relax your jaw. Legs are squared off shoulder-length apart, knees in line over feet that are parallel to each other. You bend your knees slightly but don’t lock them. Relax your shoulders and your chest. Your hands are held down in front of you dropping to full arm’s-length, wrists bent at 90 degrees with the palms facing upward. And you sit down [Barely or Bearly 😊],* rolling the end of your sacrum – imagining being connected to a Cord running deep within the Earth’s core – opening “The Gate of Life” or “Power” or the “Point of Origin” [the ‘Mingmen’ point].
You are weightless.
This is also called the “emptiness posture.”
Later in the day, after finishing practicing some Tai Chi forms, I sit in front of my computer looking for a file about the same. And what should I stumble upon, but a file outlining the meaning of Wuji or “Wu Chi.”** I had saved it. For this very day apparently.
Now I’m sure you’ve had days like mine where I start out with an idea of how the day will go, but I diverge from that path. I mean, I already have a scattered thought pattern, and it is more so lately as I have multiple things on my plate.
But today was different. Different in the sense of how I circled back to that moment before the Fire, and a message from six months ago, and how that message ties into absolutely everything.
The file I had saved explained that Wuji or “Wu Chi” refers to the “Unmanifest Aspect of the Tao.” But what is this “Aspect?” It is the “state of non-distinction prior to the differentiation into the Yin and Yang,” which in turn, gave birth to “all of the phenomena of the manifest world.”
Wuji or Wu Chi is subject to several literal translations but, ultimately, they all lead to the words “no” or “none” and “limits” or “extreme boundaries.” Thus, “No Limits.” Emptiness in any movement or activity. In this state of mind and body, “Nothing separates me from my surroundings.”
Or yet another way of looking at that would be nothing separates me from “All My Relations.”
There are many translations of Lao-tzu’s Tao Te Ching. Turning to Johnathan Star’s translation of Chapter 28, we find this concept of “No Limits.”
Hold your male side with your female side
Hold your bright side with your dull side
Hold your high side with your low side
Then you will be able to hold the whole world.
When the opposing forces unite within
there comes a power abundant in its giving
and unerring in its effect.
Flowing through everything
It returns one to the First Breath.
It returns one to No Limits.
It returns one to the Uncarved Block.***
When the Block is divided
it becomes something useful
and leaders can rule with just a few pieces.
But the Sage holds the Block complete
Holding all things within himself
he preserves the Great Unity
which cannot be ruled or divided.
There is indeed a state of “No Limits,” but it’s not quite the message as I had originally surmised. It is a return to that infinite, unlimited, boundless, timeless, undifferentiated state of existence.
As I return to the Fire, now blazing in my household, I stare into those flames holding tight to what cannot be held, the limitless state of non-duality. Looking to hold all things within myself, “which cannot be ruled or divided.”
* Rabbit Hole # 1: A note from my Ag School days, I had taken a class in Animal Sanitation and Disease Prevention that was taught by a Veterinarian. This Doctor had served in the Air Force and had assisted with the development of the ejection seat for pilots. Of course, they could not use skilled pilots to test this mechanism out, so they looked for an animal with the same hip structure that could sit down like us humans. You guessed it, they used Bears. They sedated them and sent them, seated in a jet-fueled contraption mimicking the cockpit of a plane, down a railroad track and, at the right moment, blew them up into the sky in their chair hoping the parachute would open. The Vet did not report any Bears getting injured. Just an interesting aside from the so-labeled “Bear Pose” or position, where you sit down, Bearly. 😊
** Rabbit Hole # 2: If you want further reading, you can find this article on the Web, titled, “The Meaning of Wuji (Wu Chi), the Un-manifest Aspect of the Tao.”
*** Rabbit Hole #3: Various translations of the Tao refer to it as an Uncarved Block of Wood and use this in various descriptive manners. I’ve seen it in Stephen Mitchell’s translation, but I don’t believe I saw it mentioned at all in Witter Bynner’s translation. Mitchell’s is, perhaps, a bit more pragmatic, while Bynner’s is very poetic. Whatever translation of the Tao you may find, enjoy.