This is a partial transcript of Exploring the Chong, a Healing Exploration guided by by Daniel Atchison-Nevel during the Dark Moon. Miami Beach Florida, February 2011
We gather tonight under the the dark moon.
We’ll be exploring and experiencing the Chong, the cosmic womb, the inside of the inside, the source of undifferentiated wholeness, the vortex where the cosmos continuously gives birth to itself. And we'll be exploring Tao.
One way to understand the Tao is as undifferentiated wholeness. Our life, as it is, is manifest from and contained within the undifferentiated wholeness. Our birth is a differentiation. After our birth we begin to differentiate. We move through our lives making distinctions between one phenomena and another. This is our our perception of reality” and our “illusion”. We live in differentiation and separate consciousness from the place beyond space/time where there are no distinctions.
One “way” to celebrate the dark moon is to immerse ourselves in the direct experience of the Tao. This is to “un-differentiate” . To “un-differentiate” is a much simpler task than the complex task of differentiating we spend our lives engaging. Yet simple does not mean easy. We can and do differentiate forever and in an almost limitless variety of ways. We can forever be learning new things, acquiring new knowledge. “We” are“happy” when we differentiate and learn individual words, and then we can count, and then we can identify things.
To fully immerse in the Tao is to see (or not see) the manifest world in a state of undifferentiated wholeness. Why is this useful to us ? To ask that question is to differentiate. When we differentiate an object or phenomena, we understand it from what I call “ the eyes up”. We experience it primarily with the mind and through our senses. We hear it, touch it , smell it, see it. We understand and organize what we “sense” primarily through cognition, through thinking. This is thedominant way of our culture .
We don’t really trust our senses, they too must be “proven”. We navigate our universe trying to problem-solve, trying to fix things, trying to understand things primarily through cognition. Primarily through thinking. If we are lucky, we may have some exposure to more creative ways of navigating the world. These creative ways are the way of the imagination. Imagination, though softer and more Yin than cognition & logic is still thinking. To imagine something is to still think. It is the the softer of the thinking, the YIN-thinking. Imagination happens in the individual mind. All this happens on the surface ofour being and is ruled by our ego.
This is the world of the Outer Gate & Just Below the Outer Gate, the Outside of the Outside and the Inside of the Outside. Let’s navigate this world for just a few moments. Lets think first about mind and thinking, and then think about what is our somatic surface. The outside of our outside, and let’s all just take our hands and touch it. Here it is, right? Here “we” are, correct? This is the outside of our outside; we’re wrapped, somatically, physically in this skin.
If we drop just a little bit lower, little deeper, go a little bit more inward, we go to the inside of our outside. And on the inside of our outside, if we’re talking in the most somatic or physical terms, we get into the muscles and tendons, and fascia, the region right below the skin. When we enter the muscles, we enter that area where thinking meets sensing and feeling. We leave the world of cognition and we begin to enter—just briefly, just on the surface of things—the world of emotions. Mostly on this level, we enter the world of expressed or unexpressed emotions. Every time we have an emotional response that we do not manifest, we contract on this area right below the surface, the inside of our outside.
As we move a little deeper into the body, we move deeper into the world of, deeper into the emotional world, the world of feeling, we move to the area of the outside of the inside. If I can ask everyone, just for a moment visualize the inside of your visceral cavity. You’re able to be in there floating around. What do you see in there? Well, you see a lot of dark space, but you also by being inside of your being you can look there, and oh look! There’s your heart. And there are your lungs and your spleen and your kidneys. Your gallbladder if you still have it, intestines. Stomach. And now as you’re inside and you’re looking at all these things, what does the heart and the lungs and the liver and the spleen and the kidneys all have in common? They all have an outside. Just like we have an outside of the outside, we have an outside of the inside.
If there was a loud sound that were to happen in this room right now, we might all contract or react on the outside of our outside. We would also likely contract and react on the outsides of our insides. This is one root of the common ground that our heart and our lung and our spleens and our kidneys and our stomachs and our intestines and our gallbladders have. They contract and they expand together. They have this beat, this rhythm together. Each in their own unique way but in concert with each other.
It’s murkier in there, in the outside of the our inside, but still there’s some definition. At best, we are mucking around in there. You don’t have the same clarity that the mind has, the same ability to create this total illusion of control on the outside world that we have when we’re on the outside of the outside in our mind. By the time you’ve entered into your visceral cavity, by the time you’re on the outside of your inside, you’re in a murkier, a more metaphoric, a more symbolic world. A world that’s more difficult to navigate with the mind, with ordinary language. This is the world where we speak of metaphor not just of being a linguistic device, but an actual lived reality.
Yet we can move deeper still into our being. We can move into the inside of our inside. Our depths. We can move into the inside of our heart. We can move into the inside of our lungs. The inside of our stomach. The inside of our spleen. The inside of our kidney. The inside of our bones. Here, in our depths, things are even less differentiated as we’re on the deep inside looking out,. It’s darker. It’s less defined. We have a greater sense of the undifferentiated wholeness that we actually are. Here is the world, if you go deep enough, that’s beyond emotion, beyond the senses, beyond thought. It’s the world of Shen, of spirit, of undifferentiated wholeness.
If we move deeper and deeper and deeper and deeper within the CHONG, the core, the womb of our being, that as we move deeper into the cave of undifferentiated wholeness, we move past our individual undifferentiated wholeness into the collective undifferentiated wholeness. Deeper still past the collective undifferentiated wholeness, the collective CHONG, the collective Dao, into the universal CHONG. Deep, deep, deep within.
In this space, it appears at first glance dark. It appears at second glance still darker. At third glance darker still. But as one immerses oneself in this deep cave of undifferentiated wholeness and is able to move through the individual consciousness, move through the collective consciousness, move deep through the universal consciousness, into that deep source of undifferentiated wholeness, the undivided Dao—as one moves, deep, deep, deep, deep, deep, deep within to the stillness to the silence, to the dark—one begins to see light in the distance.
This process has been described in an infinite variety of different ways. Some describe it looking like an eye looking back at you. Some describe it like the flame of a candle. Some describe it like a star, solo star twinkling in the night. But as one immerses oneself deeper and deeper still and sits in this stillness and sits in this silence, universes reveal themselves. It’s a world that one can’t navigate with the mind, a world that one can’t navigate with the emotions. In fact it’s a world where one can’t necessarily control their movement because the truth is, we move ourselves through the world and the universe and the world moves itself through us. It is the world of undifferentiated wholeness , of vibration.
One of the experiences that we all share in this roomis that at one time we were an egg in a womb. We were undifferentiated wholeness, and somewhere within our being we can remember this, if not necessarily recall. Recall is a mental process; remembering is an embodied process. We have this in common—each of us has this experience of undifferentiated wholeness, of being this egg floating in the dark womb, of being undivided. Of being distinct, yet indistinct from the environment in which we exist, from the CHONG. And when we look up at the dark moon, the beauty of it, it’s grace is that it is distinct yet indistinct from the dark sky. It is the undifferentiated wholeness. It is the single drop of the ocean ascending from the ocean momentarily in space, defining itself only to return to the ocean.
Then something happens for each of us—I’m assuming this something happened for each of us—the egg got acted upon, and the first division happened. Each of us has had this experience. Each of us had this first division, this first distinction. With this first dividing, we had an orbit—a front and a back. We had an internal orbit. The same way the moon orbits around the earth and the earth orbits around the sun, the earth orbits around its core. It is our Mother Earth’s core, in fact, that the “attracts” the moon in its orbit. Our birth, our life is an orbit. Our birth, our life is microcosm, a replication of the celestial orbits.
Each time there is this new moon, we have the opportunity to reconnect with that time in our lives when we were an undifferentiated wholeness, when we were the new moon, when we were the egg still undivided. The darkest of the dark moon is the moment from which only the light can emerge. After this instant of the dark moon the first light begins to emerge. The new moon brings with it the light and the sense of the orbit. With the first sliver of the new moon we begin the orbit anew. The return. The first activation. The emergence of the microcosmic orbit within us. This orbit of consciousness, of spirit, of Qi, continuallycoursing up & down our front midline & up and down or back spine.
One of the beautiful things about this cycle, for those of you who have had any experience at all with Tai Chi or Qi Gong, or any of the things where you use the slow through the first division of the CHONG, the first division of the inside of the inside which is the DU and the REN, the governing vessel and the conception vessel, that it runs up the front and runs up the back and it runs down the front, and it runs up the front, and it runs down the back. Both things are happening at the same time. what’s happening. And that’s the beauty of it, at the same time there’s this cycle going. And that’s the first division. And then what happened with that egg for each of us? What happened to us? After the first-step division, there was this division, the DAI-belt occurred. There was the horizontal division. And now we had a top and a bottom. And so now we needed a way sometimes, when we weren’t in the preferred state of undifferentiated wholeness, in the preferred state of direct experience—we now have to have a conversation about it. Early on the people who wanted to have this conversation about it had this conversation referencing the moon. The dark moon, the full moon, the waning moon.
Others use the mountain, those who were more solar-oriented used the mountain. The sunny side of the mountain and the shady side of the mountain. This is at the root of the Yin/Yang character. Yang is the sunny side of the mountain;. Yin is the shady side of the mountain. What is the point of this conversations? All things are understood in context. Nothing is Yin and nothing is Yang. Yin/Yang allows us to discuss the direct experience with the least amount of untruthfulness. This is at the heart of the dialogue : the Tao that can be spoken of is not the Tao. They knew fundamentally that any conversation about the Tao was to remove yourself from the Tao. With Yin Yang an elegant Way of discussing the direct experience evolved. I believe, as do many, it all started with this deep, deep reverence for the teacher that was the moon.