The Alchemy of Love

“It feels like I’m standing in the middle of a burning pyre being burned alive. When I look out through the flames, there is this intensely raw feeling of being at the complete mercy of
a process that I cannot change and can only allow. The flames fly wildly around me and there is nowhere to go. It seems that the flames are coming from my own flesh and bones, so wherever I go, the flames follow.” 1


Hexagram 30. Li/The Clinging, Fire. Li means “to ‘cling to something’, ‘to be conditioned’, ‘to depend or rest on something’, and also ‘brightness’…what is dark clings to what is light and so enhances the brightness of the latter. A luminous thing giving out light must have within itself something that perseveres; otherwise it will in time burn itself out. Everything that gives light is dependent on something to which it clings, in order that it may continue to shine… Human life on earth is conditioned and unfree, and when man recognizes this limitation and makes himself dependent upon the harmonious and beneficent forces of the cosmos, he achieves success… one may put aside hope and fear, and sigh and lament: if one is intent on clarity of mind, good fortune will come from his grief. For here we are dealing not with a passing of mood… but with a real change of heart.” 2

A ‘real change of heart’ opens pathways for healing.

The heart belongs to the element fire, summer, heat, south, joy, sadness, red, bitter flavor, the tongue, blood, sweat, flowering. Taoist sages tell us that deep within the heart within the heart, lives the shen (the spirit of the heart), imbued with the pure light of divine consciousness that guides and protects us in our earth walk. The shen ask us to tenderly care for the altar of our heart—a threshold between the realm of the timeless and the time-bound where mystery lives and informs us in the most sacred ways of the Tao. The shen need our stillness and silence so that we may hear, with the inner ear, the guidance of Mystery whispered in a language only the heart understands. Continue reading “The Alchemy of Love”