What are the practices of going with and going against the flow?

 

Although these are the techniques of practicing Tao in the

Hou-tien10, understanding them is still necessary,  Whoever

dissipates his vitality, spirit and soul through ears and eyes is

a commoner.  Whoever retrieves inward his vitality, spirit and

soul can become a Saint.  The practice of going with the flow

dissipates.  The practice of going against the flow retrieves. 

That is why Mencius said “To practice Tao, one needs nothing

but to retrieve his lost heart.”

 

The technique of maintaining and nurturing one’s vitality, spirit

and soul is to keep tranquility in one’s heart and reflect one’s

aureole inward.  Through this process, the True Fire of li will

descend.  By raising one’s tongue to lightly touch the upper

palate, his True Water of kan will ascend through the glands

in his mouth.  When there is enough True Water, it is

swallowed into Dan-tian (the root of human life or, literally,

the cavity of immortal embryo) in the abdomen.  Here is where

the True Water meets the True Fire from Ming-men (the door

of life at the fifth joint of the spine).  The True Water is then

converted into Qi.  When the Qi and soul are full, one can labour

without feeling fatigue.  The Qi circulates in the body by

ascending along the spine and descending down in the front

continuously.  When vitality becomes full, one has no desire

for lust.  The vitality then is refined and transforms into Qi (spirit). 

When the Qi (spirit) is full, one has no appetite.  The Qi (spirit)

then is refined and transforms into the soul.  When the soul is

full, one has no desire for sleep.  Then the soul returns to the

Void.  Once the soul returns to the Void, it is bright and its

presence permeates throughout the cosmos.  This is what

Taoism calls “turning the water mill”, Buddhism calls it

“turning the wheel of the Dharma” and Confucianism calls

it “pervading the Truth after the elimination of desires”. 

This is the practice of going against the flow.

 

The circulation of the Qi of the common ascends in the front

and descends in the back.  The circulation of the Qi of Saints

descends in the front and ascends in the back.  Aren’t the two

exactly the opposite?