Dao, the path of the myriad things
Falling in love with life can only happen when we understand how Life works as well as our role of co-creators in the Void (Wuji 無極), from where the myriad of things spring forth.
The supreme ruler of both Void and Life, as well as the path through which the Void manifests as living matter is called Dao 道.
Laozi had said:
“Dao is one, from it two is born , from two three is born , and from three the thousands things are born, 道生一，一生二，二生三，三生萬物。萬物負陰而抱陽，沖氣以為和。人之所惡，唯孤、寡、不穀，而王公以為稱。故物或損之而益，或益之而損。人之所教，我亦教之。強梁者不得其死，吾將以為教父。” (1)
All creatures are born from and within Dao. Yet, amongst them, only human beings can consciously connect with it by means of self-cultivation. Self-cultivation is how they discover their transcendental root and unite with 'their innate perfection', the living Dao itself.
But what are we all encouraged to cultivate? Of course, heart, seen as the 'void', the Dao within, the alchemical palace from where one can give birth to oneself over and over again. Confucius had called this heart ‘centre, Zhong 中’.
'Dao heart', 'Centre' is not a place, but a presence, namely the presence of the great Void within each human being. In terms of quantum physics it could be called the 'field or source of infinite possibilities', from which one's attention and intention (意) can create anew.
In this context, because this is not the human, emotional heart that is socially and culturally constructed and conditioned, but on the contrary what calls it away from detrimental social conditioning and invites it to stay connected with 'Source, Dao, Void and Centre', it is clear that this word 'heart' deserves to be written with a capital 'h'. Heart!
This 'Dao Heart' is not the site of emotions
In fact, our emotional reactions are nothing else but a set of responses and re-actions, informed by the specific cultural and social context we belong to. They are imperceptibly passed on to us by our significant adults, by messages given by movies, our schooling, our religious environment, our peer group influences and even fairy tales. Around this information, we form our own 'truths' and 'habits', our own 'comfort zone', and keep on repeating blindly the same foreseeable responses over and over again. We could say that emotions reside in the human ' heart' written with a small 'h', which often pushes us into uncontrolled passion and leads us not only to the joys, but also the pains of life. This 'heart' is polarised, calm yin at times, passionate yang at other times. This heart is caught in the circle of change and in the illusion of separation from source. On the contrary, the 'Dao Heart', 'centre', 'void' is neutral and free from any kind of conditionings and habits. This Heart regulates emotions, so that they do not turn into pathogens affecting our health.
Dao Heart and true nature, xing 性
The ability to connect with Heart, allows us to get in touch with a much truer part of ourselves, called 'true nature, xing 性’. Many refer to 'xing 性‘' as something personal, as a mark of identity, something totally mine and unique to me. The more I study, learn and practice, the more I have come to believe that 'xing 性' is not something that defines me, but rather, something that reminds me of the universal source of my life in my earthly life, something that keeps me 'heavenly' (2) on this earth Dao, within the universal 'centre', within the universal 'void'. Xing, as I understand that, is nothing else but my own origin, that 'Life' source which remains present in me as long as i live, the Dao I am.
Getting in touch with ‘centre’ or ‘heart’ means creating a new terrain 'soul/spirit 神' in which body, mind and heart can thrive and become healthier, so that we can become more fulfilled and emotionally intelligent beings.
This is the Heart we try to connect to in therapy.
(1) Laozi, Dao De Jing, ch 42. See https://ctext.org/dao-de-jing
(2) In Chinese philosophy and medicine, Heavenly refers to the potentiality of someone's existence. For anything to be born, two conditions must be satisfied: a. that the Life power, existing prior and beyond the existence of a specific being, vitalises a new form, b. that 'Life into a new form ' is invited through copulation