The Tao: Energy as it Flows in the Universe

The culminating achievement of Carlos Castaneda’s time as “sorcerer’s apprentice”, and his principal task, was “stopping the world”, or what Buddhists also call “stopping the wheel of space and time” (that wheel or chakra being represented by the ancient symbol of the svastika, which is really the symbol of samsara and samsaric existence). When one accomplishes “stopping the world” one sees reality as it is — “energy as it flows in the universe”; the Heraclitean flux. “Stopping the world” or the wheel of space and time is also the insight into the Eternal Now, as opposed to the momentary.

The flux of energy is not random. It has a pattern, a logic of its own. That pattern informs the structure of physical reality, and is called for that reason “the Logos”. It is also symbolised in the Taoist symbol of the Tai Chi (meaning “the source, or origin”), but could be just as well represented in Rosenstock-Huessy’s “cross of reality” or Holling’s “Adaptive Cycle“, although this might not be obvious at first glance. Nonetheless, each purports to represent the same thing — energy as it flows in the universe.

Tai KiWhen you look at the symbol, it seems composed of only two dual or polar elements — the yin and the yang, or, in other terms, anima or animus, left or right, masculine or feminine, light and dark, and so on and so forth. People have become accustomed to thinking of it in that way, as a duality or polarity, but that’s not entirely correct, since there are actually four elements. There is also the circle expressive of their unity, and the bisecting line expressive of their differentiation, and these lines represent the flux, and the flux as being paradoxical — the paradox of the one and the many or of unity with diversity. The paradoxical (or polar) character of the energetic flux is further enhanced by the presence of seed-germ of the dark within the light, and the seed-germ of the light within the darkness.

It is a symbolic representation of the integral consciousness, or of “satori“, and Gebser recognised and acknowledged it as such in his Ever-Present Origin.

But to appreciate it fully is to recognise it as a symbolic representation of coincidentia oppositorum or coniunctio oppositorum. And, furthermore, that it is not just a representation of a fundamental duality (the mentalistic predilection) but of a fourfold dynamic that includes not just the yin and the yang, but also the coincidence of the whole and the particular, or unity with separation and difference. There are many such similar symbols, all bearing witness to the reality of energy as it flows in the universe as “origin” or “source” and, that this energy is not random, but has an implicit structure, pattern, or logic.

Co-present in the symbol are the fundamentals of each of the structures of consciousness described by Gebser: archaic wholeness, magical unity, mythical polarity, mental duality. Realised together, in their harmonious interplay, is what is called “equanimity”, and equilibrium without is the reflection of equanimity within. The symbol is, then, as much a symbol of the fourfold self as the fourfold cosmos.

It is certainly not the only possible symbolisation of the ever-present origin or of the energetic flux. All cruciform symbols and kindred mandalas contain the same elements, such as the Medicine Wheel/Sacred Hoop. They are all expressions of Gebser’s “pre-existing pattern” that is present in the flux of energy itself. The flux of energy is lawful, and if it were not, the universe would be a very insane place indeed.

And, of course, the scientists are all busting their balls and straining their noodles to try to find out what that principle of lawfulness really is — the Integral Theory. But, obviously, there will be no “Integral Theory” without the integral consciousness capable of representing that theory. Integrality will never be achieved following “objective methods” alone. Quite a few scientists have already come to that realisation themselves. It seems all rather basic — no integral consciousness, no integral perception, no integral theory.

Equanimity is the soul’s integrity. It is certainly unfortunate (but quite revealing of the “deficit” of rationalism) that “equanimity” has become equated with “disinterestedness”, and “disinterestedness” with indifference. That’s perversity.


3 responses to “The Tao: Energy as it Flows in the Universe”

  1. abdulmonem says :

    Internalizing the flow, it means stopping the wheel of the self. To my understanding the symbol is not to stop the wheel of timepace or the wheel of the world but calibrating, fine-tuning the wheel of the self in its conceptualizing of the universe, after all the self is the only tool we have to make sense of ourselves and the world. We have to be modest in our aspiration.

    • Steve Lavendusky says :

      The best books I know on this subject are:


      And a brilliant book by Robert E. Carter called:

  2. abdulmonem says :

    The best thoughts of the three are Robert E Carter they are more inclusive and understanding and pointing to the divine energy(tao) that created the universe and flow through it to maintain it and sustain it. The power of the speaking consciousness that say to the thing be and the thing comes into being. Ibn Arabi said that trinity is the principle of creation, the speaker ,the spoken to and the speech, the knower, the known and the knowledge emphasizing the move from the one to the many, warning against the unification of these separate entities into oneness lest we give the divine uniqueness( the undefinable energy) some human attributes. We are living in a world of wonder if only we wonder and see how the one makes all numbers through the process of infusing and defusing Let us stop sticking to the signs and forget what the signs are telling us.The sufis say He split and sunder itself in order to know itself. Everything becomes absurd once we forget the one and think there is nothing beyond this life. Once arrogance and negative consciousness wear the human form, and kill the compassion the only human tool that saves the human from denying god, peers and equals, the human falls into the sea of oblivion.. Let us also not forget that god is the one who has given us the faculties of perception and expression, warning us against using these precious faculties in triviality and idle talk as we see in the american election discourse. Thank you Steve for your valuable inputs, I am reading now the hermetic De Lubicz the contemporary of Gebser.

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