Sun The Wind

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"The autumn hill
gathers
the remaining light,
A flying bird
chases
after its companion.
The green color is bright
and brings me into the moment,
like a sunset mist
that has no fixed place."
-Wang Wei

The Wind is the first phenomena that appears when the atmosphere is changing. Although it is invisible, it is given form in the swaying trees, and in those things supple enough to be moved by it. Just like Tao, we may not see the greater force, but can observe it in the shape of changing events.

Like bamboo, laughing and bending when the winds of change set in, to the ancient Masters, emulating the Gentle Wind taught one how to remain pliable enough to be led. Just as the seed pods rely on the Wind for regeneration, the idea of following is another virtue on the pathway to actualizing one's destiny.

Sun teaches us not to follow others; we follow the unique pathway of how life reveals itself to us.

The most common celebrations of ancient times revolved around the harvest festivals of autumn. Perhaps it was out of fear and reverence as the days grew darker, and the world appeared to die away. It was an important time however, because what was done in earnest during this time, laid the foundation for future harvests. Autumn portrays how even in the darkest times, there is nothing to fear.

As autumn comes, we see the gentle effects of the Wind as it removes the seeds of the future from the outer husk or protective covering of the past. Just as leaves are tugged from the branches during autumn, we too, must let go of the past so that we can grow to meet the future.

The Wind, called Sun, takes form when the bottommost Yang line transforms into a receptive Yin line. Since the opening is below, its focus is on the gentle effects of autumn to return the seeds to the earth. Like the regenerative power of sleep, the trees may appear lifeless, although the creative aspect of life is ever active in an unexpressed form.

Wind is the gentle yet, persistent work of early autumn and suggests the small efforts and the penetrating movement of the forces of change. All of the evolutionary forces bring about change and the Wind accomplishes its work slowly, but persistently.

In the majestic mountains carved by the Wind, we see that what is removed will reveal the core essence of who we are. “All of life will not change you; it evolves as a way to unmask you.” You will discover the germinating power of life in the silence where a thousand seeds are becoming the landscape of spring.

In the Sumerian story of Gilgamesh, the mighty Winds come to the hero’s aid when he goes into the Cedar Forest to wrestle evil Humbaba. Resembling our image of a devil, Humbaba is clearly something more. Our disowned power in here can take the form of the Shadow out there. Releasing or acknowledging this power reveals our te or authentic nature. Even in sleep something urges our authentic nature forward.

If the Shadow could describe its creation, it is echoed in Humbaba’s words when Gilgamesh takes hold of him: “A mother who would have brought me into the world, I did not know one. A father who would have raised me - I did not know one. The mountain begat me - You, you will raise me.” In the mountain of awareness, the Shadow is that side of us that we raised unwittingly, each time we denied our growing power to be real. Since we refuse to acknowledge this power as being our own, it often takes on the face of our enemy.

The Jinn offers his powers to Aladdin when he is released from the lamp, and similarly, Humbaba tells Gilgamesh how he will serve him. When we meet the Shadow through our confilcts with others, we have the opportunity to tap a tremendous power that can make us whole and integrated. Like Luke Skywalker confronting Darth Vader to find that it is his father, we can unmask the fearful enemy and in doing so, we recognize a valuable part of ourselves.

We spend one third of our lives asleep, where we are led toward a time of turning inward, to unleash our greater potential.

Many myths describe cycles where the hero must solve a series of puzzles. We see this evolutionary aspect in the cryptic cycles of dreams as the setting morphs into a different landscape. Freud believed that dreams only appeared cryptic as a way to allow transformative information beyond the walls of our defense mechanisms. Understanding the puzzling nature of our dreams allows us to uncover clues about ourselves. These clues can move us beyond a state of crisis onto the pathway of our destiny. Like the cyclical power of autumn, dreaming regenerates us in the same way.

In the Arthurian tales, the Fisher King initiates Percival in the discovery of his destiny, and led by Merlin, King Arthur approaches the mysterious Lake to retrieve his sword, Excalibur. Understanding our dreams, and by solving a puzzle, we see how our mythical heroes discover the truth about their real nature.

Dreams allow us to hear the voice of a guiding source within that is always active. Our potential power is reflected in how Humbaba tells Gilgamesh: “I will build your palace.” We may hide our unacknowledged inner life, but our efforts are no match for the Winds of renewal. “To discover the future potential of something, we must come to terms with what must pass.”

Gilgamesh travels through a Cedar Forest to meet the Shadow, and we see a similar terrain in American Indian culture. Shamans traverse forests to discover the broken taboos that allow for the activation of healing. Dreams often shed light on our te or our authentic nature. We encounter the trials that will release us from the taboos that we unwittingly create. In nature, the idea of positive and negative have little distincion, other than how the negative incites the positive into expression.

In fairy tales, the Forest becomes a place of danger, trials and initiation. It is always a place to overcome fear and unmask the Shadow. In all myths, the whirlwind portrays a transformative power. It allows Gilgamesh to fell the Forest where the Wind is the evolutionary mechanism that tears things down.

Anytime we meet others in emotionally charged encounters, we can sense the Winds of change stirring within.

The Wind is a symbol of the movement of consciousness, and suggests how the hidden continues to stir within. To dream of a tornado, signifies urges and emotions that have the potential to overwhelm us. In a sense, we are picked up and placed into another context. We are released of our need for control, which can only keep us rooted in the past.

The ancients approached autumn with apprehension and reverence. It teaches us that what we call bad is not necessarily bad.

In the mirror of those we meet, the Taoist observes how we are brought together propitiously. This is not a mystical event; life simply has a way of bringing like things together to balance and redistribute bound up energy. We are always exchanging energy with our environment, and as part of life’s larger tapestry, we are subject to its economies.

The Master said: “Propitious means that you attract the things you need.” Like a trapped log in a river that encounters a spinning leaf, if two things are stuck and doing similar things, it is only a matter of time before they meet in the river of life. We are gathered together with great energy but split open with equal intensity. Because the emotional reaction of the encounter is so profound, we know that the meeting was propitious. “The wise meet all opposition with a quiet and open mind; then all opposition naturally disappears.” Opposition always disappears when we open to what it may teach us.

As our dreams demonstrate, we access an omniscient type of awareness and then, awaken and move away from this knowing. We sense the truth of our nature with every part of our being and yet, remain victimized only until we open to potential growth. Believing this power is under the control of anything else will always leave us trapped on the banks of the great river.

The Wind gives movement to the lifeless. As these stationary forms are stirred, shadows are created. These shadows can show us how we have become too rooted and have life in the creative movement of change. By opening to the Wind, we can discover and release all that we protect. In this, we are renewed.

We need only look around to separate what is real from the illusions of living. Just as the Wind strips away the old foliage to prepare for the new, nature always emerges to inspire ways that we might continue growing.

(K'an The Abysmal Water)