In China there is a piece of writing that was penned during the Qing dynasty (清代前期), circa 1668–1692 that is entitled the Secret Of The Golden Flower. Despite having been re-translated in 1991 by Thomas Cleary who proclaimed that the Jung translation had numerous distortions, I have given this book a thoughtful review and have found that the core teachings are present regardless of the translations.
But What Is The Golden Flower?
First, there are those who like to make all of this seem like it is so esoteric and hard to get to (it gives them a job and elevated status as the one who knows), but these things are actually very simple. What is hard in understanding them is that most people are too complicated in their thought to realize that it is so fundamental a thing. So we begin with simple. The golden flower is the pranic force in your awareness. How you use this energy that your awareness “captures” by way of how aware it is of itself (which means that your awareness has unlimited potential for channeling prana or life force…depending on how aware you can be of your original or true nature as a child of the divine flame) will determine your experience of the golden flower in your awareness.
The Golden Flower is both you and the universe. When you understand your relationship with it, it spells the end of the orientation of your thoughts as your being as separate.
Most people focus their energy outward and thus the energy of the golden flower gets “used” in moving the energy outside of ones core being or awareness. It is thrown away on countless things that lie on the surface of the awareness of self…..you will know what these things are because they will take you away from who you are and will also take you out of the present moment. Worry, anxiety, and fear do these things and most often subtle forms of fear or uncertainty (even in small amounts) has a way of drawing your focus away from your essential being and the source of your own energy. These things scatter and divide us to the point where most people do not feel the bliss of the golden flower.
The golden flower is none other than kundalini. It is the concentrated flow through being aware of it in the self, in the energy body as a flow of energy from the root chakra up through the centers of light (chakras) until they go from low vibration to ever-higher vibration.
The principle means of causing the golden flower to bloom is one method that is repeated over and over and over throughout the book….which is that one turns ones awareness inward. Much is said about “turning the lamp of awareness inward or around within the self. Clearly, simply, they are saying that you need to take your awareness as it normally is focused outward and turn the beam or illumination of its light into yourself.
As a westerner who has not joined any group, religion, or method, what I can tell you is that this creates a kind of loop in awareness where this life force is no longer dissipated. You must first grow your capacity for energy. All healing and change comes about as a result of a boost in one’s own energy. All insights are themselves a sudden burst of energy that brings a growing awareness that is the “Ah-ha!!” moment, which is also inspiration. All of these moments happen when there is a corresponding willingness on the part o the person to let go, to surrender in a sense, so that there is this burst of energy that moves through the self. This burst of energy is the life force energy upon which the whole universe turns. This energy is highly intelligent and connects itself to all of the things because the nature of the ALL is in connectivity, not separation. You can, then, feel the intelligence in this energy. It leaves you feeling at peace and unified. This is also how the human orgasm works, too, which is a building of energy until it triggers the release. You are effectively building prana in your body until it is strong enough to begin to shift and break through the old structures that you have built within the field of your awareness. These “structures” are entirely conceptual, but in the realm of energy, are encountered as entirely solid, just as real as any physical object.
The first step is in holding in this energy so that it can build strong enough so that it has the force to rise upwards through the body in what was described as the “backward flowing motion” which is just what kundalini does. This is also what is described as the “rising in the flesh” that the Gospel of Philip and Thomas describe as part of inheriting the Kingdom. When there is sufficient energetic force it is like someone who begins tearing down a cognitive wall or barrier within the self. The best thing to do a this stage is to remain as surrendered as possible since this will allow for greater flow of this energy. It can also be felt more clearly. Normally, one is already in a state of meditation in which one is turned inward in such a way that you are observing yourself. This includes standing back and observing your own thoughts like a bystander. When you can achieve this type of awareness or stance, you are in a better place to not interfere with the flow of this energy, which is what people do without even realizing it most often. Step back and watch. Be an observer of yourself.
What I am describing to you is what is being discussed in so many meditation groups. This is called “mindfulness” and you will probably have heard of it since it has been something on the lips of most anyone who teaches meditation and ways of using the benefits of it for good living here in the West. Mindfulness is a given in the East in their meditative techniques. The effect that this has, also, is that it does slow and still the busy hive of thought over time. Trust me, this is not something that will happen in an instant most often, but takes some times to slowly train yourself how to be quiet within. If you are persistent enough, you will break through the buzz of thought and will move into a profound space of quiet that is also alive with energy, too. Instead of having a gazilliion thoughts, you can instead have a gazillion feelings of the light or energy shooting through you. This fuels bliss and is its own reward. Plus, believe it or not, but as you learn to still thought, there comes a time when it is an UTTER relief to be able to just be SILENT within. Most people don’t know how nice this state is. Most are freaked if they are silent for more than a few moments.
By being silent you also have reason to see the chasm within that you have feared your whole life. This chasm is what I call the place where all of our broken incompletely felt or processed emotions are dumped like a graveyard of sorts. Believe it or not, this then becomes the center of ALL of our uncontrolled neurosis in our lives. I know some of you wont agree with me when I say this, but this is something I have observed for years and have seen how dealing with this “region” in the self actually reduces and eliminates the neurosis within. This process I describe as the elimination or healing of neurosis through dissolving blockages in the emotional/mental/prana bodies. The movement of the golden flower will also move these blocks right away and will continue working away on blockages for years as it moves from easiest to most difficult blockages (latent unprocessed emotion = shadow self). This is what Jung identified as the necessary shadow work that liberates a person from their past neurosis. It is also known among the Chinese and Indian cultures as how one achieve liberation from the things in our lives that limit us.
The Golden Flower cleanses you.
The Golden Flower movement in you will naturally clear you of emotional blockages. I have scanned many people and what is most consistent is how much of a backlog that people all have, even people who think they have no blocks (these are the ones who have the most, very often 😉 ). So the work of removing this psychic “debris” will actually have an impact on how the flow of the golden flower is perceived.
The way of the Taoists who moved the energy of the Golden Flower is the same as it is for anyone going through awakening, in which there is a flow of energy through the body so that one vibration is changed by moving a “lower” vibration into the are of another center as they correspond to the chakras. Now, the bias most practitioners have is that you have to take a low vibration and move it upward in order to refine it. This idea has a lot of merit, however, there is something that most male practitioners have missed (and women, interestingly, most often do not miss unless they are just parroting the views of other teachers before them without really thinking about it very much) which is that all energy in the body can be healed and refined by bringing it into the heart region. By raising the vibration of the root up to the heart, this has a natural tendency to clear blocked energy that is in the root energy. Also, by bringing the crown energy into the heart, this has a way of healing faults in the crown that result from not being properly rooted or grounded in reality. The heart becomes more like an axial point of the body around which everything else radiates. If you can see the light body this way, you can see how the heart becomes the center of all healing and is also the center of the three energy centers above it as well as the three below it. The heart, then, becomes the balance point in all of this.
The way to use the heart in healing of this kind is not hard to do. You do not need a method, but I will give you some suggestions to get you started. One is to take one hand and place it on your heart chakra and then use your other hand and place it on the center in your body that you feel the blockage the most. Blocks can be felt like pain, tension, resistance, and even turbulence. Take right hand and place on your heart and then take your other hand and place it on the center that needs healing and focus your intent on feeling the energy from your heart flowing through your hands into the area needing the healing. Focus on the heart center as a place of love, acceptance, and compassion. Do this for 15 minutes at a time several times a day for the center.
However, having said this, there is no rule about how energy must flow. Energy needs to flow in the direction that is needed in order to undo blocks. In some cases, a “directional” flow from low to high is what is needed, but this is not the end-all in spiritual practice. To be a good practitioner of your own work, you need to be a maverick and listen to your own inner voice not the voices of others who assume to know what is best for you. This is very important for all of us on the planet at this time, which is to begin to rely on our own inner authority instead of those of others. What is closest to your own truth is you. While others outside of your situation can provide you with perspective when it is needed, it is time that people begin to use their own discernment in spiritual work.
Many describe the direction of energy flow, but this is itself a limited understanding of what prana does in the body. The sense of energy moving upward is itself a seeming, an effect from a series of inner energetic events whereby energy is concentrated in certain areas that gives the feeling of directional movement. Prana is like light in its sheer speed of movement, so it is important to understand that in order to really understand the flow of this energy, you need to slow your perceptions down enough to begin to truly sense the “flow” of this energy. It is in truth extremely fast, and when you can begin to get into the energy, you will begin to learn as others have done through honing perception, that this energy has layers and levels to it, with our own perceptual abilities developing and growing as we put ourselves to the task.
Electricity in the U.S. “vibrates” or cycles at 60 cycles per second. This is how the energy oscilates. This is quite fast. Imagine trying to detect sixty cycles or oscilations per second. Prana leaves electricity in the dust. In order to detect and feel the “movement” of the energy requires a special form of awareness. Because it is moving at the speed of light, the amount of information coded within it is vast. It is more correct that it radiates all through us than that it moves. The movement that people feel is actually the result of harmonics, which are multiple frequencies interacting with each other. What we think we are experiencing as directional flow is actually about how different frequencies are interacting….and these frequencies are in truth “manufactured” in the light body as a result of how awareness either allows or impedes the flow of this energy. As a result of how this happens (the self does this as a result of how it is thinking and feeling!—what thoughts and what feelings–for these themselves will have their own frequency based on what and how the person thinking about them feels about whatever it is that it is thinking or feeling), there is created this sense of flow.
Most people who are not aware of this incredibly fast speed of this energy will simply follow how the “flow” seems to operate and will put their attention to recreating the directional flow effect. This works. There is simply not the same level of comprehension about what is happening. But in the same way that you can take an aspirin and not know exactly what it is doing in your body in order for it to work, so too can you detect these slower-than-light effects that give a sense of direction and just follow the directional appearance and it will work.
So what this means is that there is an effort on the part of most people who have attained an awareness of their energy as being part of a vast bliss field to use the energy through focusing the mind to try and transmute blocked portions of the light body so that the flow of energy might be less impeded.
The “backward flow” of the Golden Flower is itself an end to wasting energy and instead placing the energy of awareness back into the self so that energy accumulates within the self instead of outside of it. Within this flow there is also a flow of energy that moves from the root or base of the spine upwards toward the heart and into the head.
It is a curious effect that when you are able to move the energy vibration that is in the root or sacral chakras, for example, so that they begin to vibrate faster than normal, they begin to express their energy as the energy in other centers, such as the solar plexus, the heart, throat, third eye, or crown chakras. When this happens, it has a natural toning and shaping effect that will almost always remove blocked material. By simply changing the vibration of one chakra to another, this “reverse flow” is achieved. Again, people swear that the energy is moving upwards, but this is not so. The energy is moving in ALL directions at once and is moving an incomprehensible amount every fraction of a second. To say that it is moving like a snake is missing what is happening. The snake is the result of energy harmonics in the body, the result of many different vibrations at different octaves or frequencies interacting with one another and creating a secondary appearance of movement. The energy is moving much much faster than any of these harmonic effects that are described by yogis, for example.
The central concept to awakening using the secret of the golden flower is how to turn awareness inward for a sustained period of time. Buddha himself (Gautama) developed a method called vipissana that is a ten day period of no talk, just mindfulness and meditation. This only works if you are able to turn enough awareness inward in order to “build” energy that can have the effect of breaking down the cognitive barriers that hold back awareness of the experience. This said, you should prepare before practicing these methods. Preparation to me would be resolving as many things that upset you about your life. These will come back to haunt you in grander ways once awakening is initiated. Those with a heavy load of trauma or unforgiven issues will suffer a great deal during awakening, and they will do so needlessly. You might think you have no major issues, but awakening will uncover them in such a way that you will wind up coming around to a place where you realize that we all have them and that they tend to be shoved down so prior to awakening we aren’t as aware of them as we ought to be. Word to the wise!
So a process of releasing blocks is an important first step to having a more harmonious awakening. If not enough is removed you can get stuck as many who are awakening spontaneously are doing today. It is a natural hazard of the process as it is most often being experienced today.