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 The Idea Of "shen", and its use in Daoist magick
post Feb 12 2011, 05:42 PM
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I am full of epiphanies lately.

So I will share another one recently encountered. While trying to embody “Shen” or spirit that is ever so important to Daoist sorcery, I realized that Shen is not the “emotional mind”, the part that jumps from one thought to the next following the path of greatest emotional weight, or the “wisdom mind” (Vaguely the equivalent to rational mind that we speak of in the west), nor to my surprise is it “Yi” (intent) as I once thought. Indeed it is something altogether more personal. Shen is what uses the tools of emotions, wisdom, and intent, but it is not them. Shen I now believe is the particular interplay between all of your past, and “orientation” of personality. The way you take action is an expression of Shen.

I have heard some accounts that describe Shen as having fire and water aspects which are brought out by chi. Each person has a particular relationship of fire and water aspects given at berth and changed somewhat by environmental factors. Perhaps it is useful to think of Shen as a disposition in what are quintessentially you; upon which the effects of everything you do and environmental factors will leave their mark. This would explain why the spirit is given greater importance than intent. If you are not disposed to want, enjoy, or find something easy, then you can intend all you want and you still might not get there. In deep meditation, a coherent intent is harder to form than one normally finds, and that is often hard in itself. I believe that is why it is said that Shen should lead.

Cosmic consciousness is devoid of diversity; yet the universe of diversity exists in notion....
We contemplate that reality in which everything exists, to which everything belongs,
from which everything has emerged, which is the cause of everything and which is everything....
The light of [this] self-knowledge alone illumines all experiences. It shines by its own light.
This inner light appears to be outside and to illumine external objects.

-Sage Vasishtha

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post Feb 13 2011, 07:26 PM
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It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of nonviolence to cover impotence. -Mahatma Gandhi

Yes, if the spirit seeks out one thing, any action towards another would be being untrue to ourselves.


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