Friday, November 13, 2020

What is the Nature of the Superior Individual?

In the philosophy of the I Ching,  there is a basic truth that in every moment, we have a choice between manifesting the Superior Individual or the inferior person. 

Among those who practice cultivation, however, there may be some question as to just what the "Superior Individual" is.  In the course of cultivation, one might get a sense of the Superior Individual being some outside entity, the "higher self" sending them messages or guiding their life. 

So some have developed a conception where the Superior Individual is some kind of outside spiritual, angelic or divine entity.

But in fact, the Superior Individual is basic part of ourselves. It is not a separate being at all, it is us. The best of us. 

 This sense of differentness, of the Superior Individual seeming like another being with its own intelligence and communicating with us is a product of people's primary identification with the 'inferior person', which is also a part of us. Thus, we have become separate from the 'higher self'.

Why are we separated from our higher self?

We aren't, but it seems this way.

The issue is this: we are a species in the process of evolution. Our consciousness has multiple layers, which can be generally divided into two parts. In the context of I Ching studies (including the Yi Fa work) these are described as "World" and "Heaven". To Nietzche it was "last man" and "super-man". In others, it could be called "animal" and "divine".


The Chinese actually say that there are two parts to the human soul: Po and Hung. The Po is the part of us that is animal instinct plus conditioned behavior. The Hung is the part of us that is our fullest potential and true Individuality (as opposed to the 'persona' of our inferior po-soul).

We can, at every moment, choose to associate with one or the other. But on account of our intermediary condition and because of our social conditioning we tend to more directly identify ourselves as the "Inferior Person". So much so, that the Superior Individual can sometimes feel like it's a separate entity, some kind of guiding spirit.

You will find, if you engage with discipline in a sincere long-term course of spiritual cultivation, that over time, you will become more and more identified as one with the Superior Individual. At that point, the 'ideas' of the Superior Individual will be identical to your own, and the notions of the inferior person, which will still be present, will instead be the ones that appear to be foreign.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

The Steps of Human Consciousness

 There's a teaching in Chinese mysticism that there are two levels of our consciousness. They're associated with the concepts in the I Ching of the "inferior person" and "superior individual". 

At every moment in space and time we have a choice of which of the two we associate with in our active consciousness, but most people in general associate with the inferior person. The inferior person is a collection of influences and conditionings based on your physical nature, your environment, and the influences of your past and present choices and people in your life.

The Superior Individual is your true nature, what is real about you behind all those things. But in point of fact most people are so disconnected from their true and essential nature that it feels like it is another person. In many rituals used to "communicate" with the Superior Individual, that division is so notable that it feels like the Superior individual is some totally different entity from "ourselves", which is why in western symbolism its called the "Holy Guardian Angel". 

This is also why when one is trying to shift the association of their consciousness from the inferior person to the Superior Individual it feels like dying, like the very essence of who were until now (or rather, who you thought you were) has to be destroyed for you to get to that true self. In a lot of cases, people's motives for getting to that true state involve desires OF the inferior person, so they realize that to get to what's real, they'll have to give up the fantasies of the false person they were, and that's very hard.

This internal conflict is mirrored externally by the struggle between (the inferior person) wanting to imagine one's self the center of the universe, and wanting to have a power that acts on the universe and get to impose its desires on the universe, and the (Superior Individual's) understanding that we are one non-divisible part of reality and are not the central actor but one small part of a very big picture in the vastness of Space and Time, and how this is not something that can just be reasoned out, but has to be experienced through meditative practice and the application of virtue to restore that Union with the Taiji (what in modern English we could call the "Singularity").

So in fact while most of these sorts of studies and articles and ordinary perceptions on the subject of "enlightenment" talk about a two-option process (unconsciousness / enlightenment), the work of spiritual Cultivation is actually a multi-step process of initial glimpses of waking up, initiation, developing discipline, achieving communication with the Superior Individual (in western magick called the "True Will"), working to change one's life and environment to better fit one's efforts at attainment and union, making the shift from general association with the inferior person to general association with the Superior Individual, engaging in teaching or other forms of applying Virtue in the world, attaining states of Union to reality, and finally manifesting that Union fully and becoming the Sage (Enlightenment). There are steps Beyond Enlightenment as well but these are generally not spoken of in lay contexts.

Of the above stages, the big three are:

- Initiation: the beginning of awareness of one's Enlightenment quality, and the start of serious spiritual cultivation.

-Adepthood: the shift into association with the Superior Individual

-Enlightenment: uniting to nature or space-time as a whole (which is to say, overcoming this false notion of separation between self and other, and the self-referencing nature of "thinking you're in the middle of the picture").


Finally, I'll note that the very notion that Enlightenment is some kind of separation from the World or one's humanity is ridiculous and disgusting. That's essentially either nihilism or solipsism, the heresies of the gnostics. You can't become "one with everything" by being less human, or less engaged. 

Anyone claiming to be Enlightened while pretending that they don't care about things, or feel things, or that there are certain normal human things that they just don't experience (be it anger, sadness, physical pain, or basic physical needs) are both arguing for Enlightenment being a kind of sub-humanity, and blatant liars.

Enlightenment requires, as my own teacher once said, that you Be More Human.

It's not about separating yourself, it's about Showing Up, being present in the active consciousness.
It's not about feeling less or caring less, it's about Totality. Becoming one part of the big picture, without trying to run away from that big picture, or trying to be right in the middle of that big picture, or trying to control that big picture. It's about being 100% of yourself in the here and now.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

How to Master the I Ching

 In this latest video, I give you some guidelines as to how you should study the text and structure of the I Ching to maximize your ability to understand it!

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

The Magician's I Ching Facebook Group now has Over 3000 Members!

 The Facebook group created in honor of The Magician's I Ching, but which is a general discussion group for all I Ching related subjects, has now reached 3000 members!

So if you haven't already joined the Magician's I Ching Facebook Group, please consider joining!  It's free, and filled with interesting conversation and material related to the I Ching and I Ching studies.  It's open to people coming from western or eastern traditions.  It's very welcoming to newcomers to the I Ching, and you can get questions answered or useful advice. But it also has many very learned and highly experienced advanced students of the I Ching, and if you are one of those people you'll find some excellent higher level discussion about some of the finer points of I Ching study.

While you're at it, please consider joining the Yi Fa Society.  Members of the Yi Fa Society also have a (secret) discussion group, and benefit from a complete and detailed training program for studying Yi Fa Qi Gong and the I Ching.   Members of the Yi Fa Society are taught additional Qi Gong and I Ching secrets that are not available anywhere public.

At higher levels of membership, the advanced exercises of Yi Fa Qi Gong are taught, and students are provided large numbers of instructional materials (whole books, like "Secret Techniques of the I Ching", "Universal Yi Fa", "The Yi Dao", and "the Great Book of Yi Fa", among others) on how to deepen their work with Qi Gong and I Ching for self-transformation and the work of enlightenment.

Members of the Yi Fa Society can work personally with me to keep up their practice, to resolve problems in their practice, and to develop discipline and structure in their spiritual path.   Members also have the opportunity to have monthly Skype meetings with me for the same purpose.

Yi Fa Society membership is not free, but basic membership is on a monthly donation basis set by each student.

If you are interested in joining the Magician's I Ching Facebook group, just click on the link and join, and start reading and sharing with us!

If you are interested in joining the Yi Fa Society, please contact me, here or on Facebook.

Saturday, August 22, 2020

I Ching Questions and Answers: Line 1 and Line 6

 I often receive questions about the I Ching, and how to read it more effectively. If you have a question post it in the comments below and I will try to answer it.

Meanwhile, here is one example of a question someone recently sent me, and my answer:

Q: what does it mean when only line 1 and line 6 are changing?


In an I Ching casting, you derive a six-line hexagram. In the casting, any number of those lines, from none at all to all six, could theoretically be changing lines. 

Any lines might or might not be changing. 

You cast the lines in order from the bottom to the top, so that the bottom line is considered "line 1", and the top line is considered "line 6".

If more than one line is changing, it is important to determine what is the "central line", the part of the casting that is the most important. The way to do this is explained in The Magician's I Ching.

So if you get only two changing lines, and they are line 1 and line 6, of the two the central line of the reading is line 6. Line 1 needs to be read as a kind of prelude to the central line 6.

In an I Ching casting the position of each line has a general sense of importance. As each Hexagram represents a situation, the bottom 1st line represents the very beginning of the situation; often even what happens before the situation is really in action. Line two is often when things get going. Line three the most difficult part (the jump between the lower lines and the upper lines). Line four is when you're past the middle of the situation. Line 5 is usually the climax or peak of the situation, and Line 6 is when the situation is ending or even past due to end.

Since Line 1 usually signifies something taking place very early, and line 6 very late, there is a bigger distance between the two than if they were any other two lines. It can also mean with regard to the question that issues that happened at the beginning of the process are relevant to what is happening right now.

So in a casting where Line 1 and Line 6 are the two changing lines, you ought to think of Line 6 as what's most central right now, but there are things about how the current situation began that are having an important effect or consequence at the time of the situation ending.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Spiritual Cultivation is Not Just "Follow Your Passion"

One of my students had a question regarding a new-age author who suggested the following advice, not uncommon in our modern culture:
"He says that if in your work you are being distracted with something else, then maybe you should do what you are being distracted with, i.e. follow your passion. Which is common sense of course."

Note that this was even noted as "common sense".

But in fact, this is terribly bad advice to give people; as 'distraction' and 'passion' are not the same thing.

Most people don't have any idea what their passion is.

If they do know, and follow it, they will find that there are all kinds of "distractions" that try to drive them AWAY from those passions, because it turns out that following one's passion requires enormous discipline and very hard and often boring work and many sacrifices and lots of other things that aren't fun.

And your passion requires CHANGE.

It requires that you be almost a completely different person when you come out of the process than when you started, and if you are not willing to make that kind of change, the no-longer-being your existing conception of self, then many of the 'distractions' are likely to be things that are also tempting to you precisely in order to try to get you to keep being who you are right now.

They're saying "look, you find this really interesting, right? Come follow this wild goose chase of things you find interesting instead of that one really hard thing you're trying to do".
And before you know it, years have gone by and you've started ten thousand things and finished none of them.

You need to find out what you actually love (as in, what is your actual will), not the lies that you tell yourself about the type of person you'd like to be because you hope other people will see you that way, or because someone else told you its what you have to be like, but what you are actually want to accomplish, above all else. As precisely as possible.

And then you have to follow that thing you love no matter how hard it is or how much struggle and suffering and sacrifice you go through in it, until it kills you.