by Nick Andrea
What is all this Taoist Immortality stuff about?
I was looking into the eyes of a six week old infant the other day and I got the sense that here before me was pure consciousness that had taken form as a human being through a coming together of the five fundamental factors (wood, fire, earth, metal, water).
Now, according to Michael Winn (healingtaousa.com), an individual must integrate these 5 factors (he calls them lesser spirits that make up an individual) within him/herself in life to continue creating as an individual after death. Otherwise, they will scatter and get recycled and re-combined to form a new individual. This Taoist view of immortality would suggest that this little guy is charged with the life task of alchemically integrating these elements before he dies through various qigong and meditation practices and that if he doesn’t “he” will be no more, recycled like a Borg drone.
This view seems to contrast with the yogic Vedantic of spirituality in which consciousness is pure already and the goal is to liberate it from these human factors, so it can abide in the oneness of its purity. Here, karma or “action” is what gets in the way, and stillness of mind and even body (like bringing circulation to a near stop) is pursued to facilitate such an awakening.
Clearly, the Taoist model (as Michael Winn presents it) values the individual – the “drop,” so to speak – and the Vedantic model values the undifferentiated – the “ocean.” Which is the more accurate view? I am curious what conclusions other people they draw from these perspectives