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The Secret of the Golden Flower

By Sharon Bauer


The Secret of the Golden Flower

In the Taoist classic ‘The Secret of the Golden Flower’ the word golden describes the light of the mind and the flower represents the blossoming or opening of the light of the mind.  The ‘Secret of the Golden Flower’ is a well known Taoist and Buddhist manual which describes a natural way to freedom, practiced in China for many centuries. 

In the preface of the manual, it is recommended that before using this manual every individual needs to first establish themselves in daily activities… be active in the world.  Only then can reality, or the light, be cultivated.  The method used to cultivate the essence or the primordial awareness is “to turn the light around.”  When the light is turned around then the true essence or spirit of the individual is revealed.  The manual describes two souls. 

  1. The lower soul which is located in the body and is identified with the impressions of consciousness.  It is described as dense and opaque.  It is described as the yin energy.

  2. The higher soul is said to reside in the eyes during the day and at night in dreams.  The higher soul is yang energy, energy which is clear and light.  This same soul energy was derived from the cosmic space and has the same form as the original primordial beginning. 

When the yin and yang congeal, this is what is called the “pure energy” or “pure thought.”  The method of “turning the light around” is to focus everyday for one hundred days, in the heart where the spirit concentrates.  It is said that when you sit quietly for awhile in the heart , a thousand ages and lifetimes are penetrated.  Confucians call it “open center.”  Buddhists call it “the pedestal of awareness.”  Taoists call it “the mysterious pass, the primal opening, the mysterious female.”  

The light is easily stirred but hard to stabilize. According to the text, beginners suffer from two problems:  distraction and oblivion.  Distraction means the spirit is racing.  Oblivion means the spirit is unclear.  Oblivion is more difficult, as the lower soul is completely in charge… there is no awareness… darkness and negativity prevails.  In distraction one simply needs to quiet the racing mind.

One needs to gain control of the mind and enter a thought free state.  To gain control of the mind, one can focus on the energy of the mind.  First one tunes the breath. ,let the breath be quiet and less audible. Listen to the soundlessness of the breath. When the breath is subtle, the mind is subtle. When the breath and mind are unified the subtle energy becomes apparent.

 Quieting the mind is accomplished by taking hold of the energy of the mind.  Once the mind is quiet and the energy is harnessed, it is now necessary to find the potential of the mind.  So, one sits with energy and waits for the light to open: 

  That is why it is necessary to devote 100 days to turn the light around.  As the light is turned around, all the energies in the body begin to rise.  As this happens, the light is said to be crystallized as the natural spirit body.  The natural spirit body is now given access to the original spirit, the Tao, or infinite light  which penetrates through the nine heavens (or multi-dimensions).

The light is described as “neither inside nor outside.”  Mountains, rivers, sun, moon and the whole earth are all this light, not only human beings.  “The light of heaven and earth fill the universe; the light of one individual extends through the heavens and covers the earth.”

Actual practice goes from shallow to deep, from crude to fine.  The turning around of the light is “stopping.”  “The light is seeing.”

In the first stage:

1.  One may experience an uninterrupted continuity in quiet; the spirit and feelings are joyful and happy.  Golden effulgence is suddenly blooming.

2.  All the pipes coming into the body are quiet.  One feels the earth is a realm of light.  There is an opening into luminosity which is the substance of mind… the blossoming of the golden flower.

3.  One feels as if they are able to meet things that make other people feel desolate… their vital spirit shines through.  Sometimes symbols like the sun will be seen in meditation.  Sometimes “a great body of water” or trees in a row, representing the light of seven openings of heart will be seen.  

In the second stage: 

1.  Spirit enters a state of  Openness,., The experience of the golden elixir of light becomes permanent…. one always has access to the innate awareness, the awareness of awareness. One becomes open to the openness of the field. The work of practice is to cultivate this opening to openness.

In everyday life , one absorbs themselves in whatever they are doing and then relaxes into the activity . As one relaxes one is better able to experience and harmonize the light into the world. One cultivates the opening into the innate awareness in what ever they’re doing. One intends to perceive Reality from the awareness field and not simply  from the senses. Emotions are calmed and regulated. 

2.  The body is permeated with light and the energy begins to soar upward.  The whole body feels wonderfully light and buoyant.  It is described as “clouds filling a thousand mountains.  Heaven enters the earth.  All wonders return to the root.”  The individual enters a thought-free field, a field of complete freedom. 

3.  One begins to contemplate the “light of essence.”  Perception becomes spontaneous without discrimination, for the moment we discriminate the light becomes obscured.  Direct perception is now possible.  It is like a mirror reflecting without intending to do so. 

a. One is now able to see the origin of all objects as arising out of the primordial field of space, energy and light.

b. One takes a constructive attitude toward all events.

c. One gives up on destroying objects or clinging to objects

In elaborating the process of direct perception, Dr. Yan Xin, the great Qigong master describes five different eye openings that the practioner may move through as the light is refined.

 1. Opening of the Naked Eye-one’s vision improves and one can see clearly both near and far-away.

2. One may begin to see images in meditation, as if in a dream state… eg. faraway  places one has never seen or seeing the essence of objects or being able to see inside the human body;  or experiencing the archetypal field.

3. Opening of the Wisdom Eye-

The opening in the wisdom eye allows one to understand what one has seen in meditation, it now begins to make sense,.

The opening of the Wisdom Eye encompasses four skills:

1-. Actually being able to see an object from various angles at the same time.

2-The ability to understand intuitively the essence and function of objects never seen before.

3-. The ability to recall the past-example someone may have a symptom of illness- one would know the origins of the illness.

4.-The ability to predict the future.

4. Opening of the Dharma Eye

---One possess high energy and one has the ability to make corrections in a problem.

5. The fifth opening is the Opening of the Buddha Eye.

One becomes one with the power of the energy, the power of the Tao..

This power allows one the ability to help many, many people automatically. One who has the opening of the Buddha eye is able to bring others to enlightenment. 

In both Buddhism and Taoism, its suggested  that one seek out the company of the enlightened teacher because of the subltle powers  these teachers bring to the process. Through transmission of the light, they can greatly accelerate our progression into the light.

 Our part is to hold sincerity of intent, for it is this firm intention which allows us to enter the mysterious pass, the opening  into the light. After the first 100 days of work, the fire of spirit begins to manifest and the light appears.   The alchemical text says that  A point of true positive energy produces a pearl.  The pearl should be attended to calmly and quietly with the attitude of the hen who sits on an egg.  “The hen embraces the egg, always mentally listening.”  The way the hen can give life to the egg is through warm energy.  Warm energy cannot penetrate the inside so she gently conducts the energy inward… that listening is single-minded concentration.  When the mind enters, the energy enters and with the warm energy, birth takes place.  Therefore, even though the mother hen goes away from time to time, she is always listening.  She is always attuned, since concentration of spirit in never interrupted day or night.  The spirit comes alive. 

 One needs to gain control of the mind and enter a thought free state.  To gain control of the mind, one can focus on the energy of the mind.  First one tunes the breath:

Let the breath be quiet and less audible.  Listen to the soundlessness of the breath.  When the breath is subtle, the mind is subtle.  When the breath and mind are unified the energy becomes apparent.  The energy is then unified throughout the body and mind and the light is revealed. 


 Sharon Bauer,MSN  Author

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