For the Heavenly Cycle, energy is not the main thing; the secret is in the mind. All popular methods of practicing the Heavenly Cycle, are like trying to help the shoots grow by pulling them upward. But ultimately, the Heavenly Cycle is maintained without minding, carried out without deliberate intention. Look up at the sky: it constantly changes, throughout 365 days, yet the polar star never moves. Our mind is also like this: mind is the pole, energy is the myriad stars revolving around it. The energy in our limbs and throughout our whole body is basically a network, so do not exert your strength to the full on it. Purify the conscious spirit, remove arbitrary views, after that medicine will develop.
This medicine is not a material thing; it is the light of essence, which is none other than the primordial true energy. It only appears after great concentration; so it is necessary to cultivate great concentration. There is no method of gathering the primordial true energy; those who speak of gathering are quite mistaken. When you have experienced this primordial energy for a long time, eventually it becomes spontaneous and your mind is filled with light. When the mind is purified and empty of distraction, attachment and indulgence, you are liberated from the ocean of misery. Talking about dragon and tiger today or water and fire tomorrow, are all illusions in the end. The spells I learned from my teacher Huolong are as I explained; I don’t know about the teachings of other Taoist sutras.
There is a cycle in each day, there is a cycle in each hour; where water (Kan ☵ ) and fire (Li ☲) interact, there is a cycle. This interaction is like the revolving of Heaven. As long as you are unable to stop the operation of the mind, as a consequence there are times of interaction and times of non-interaction. Yet the revolving of Heaven never stops for a moment. If you are actually able to unite yin and yang in tranquility, the whole earth is yang (positive) and harmonious; all things simultaneously expand to fulfillment in your central chamber, the right place. This is the so-called method of bathing in alchemical classics. Isn’t it precisely the great cycle?
The firing process of the cycles differs in scale, but ultimately there is no way to distinguish great and small firing. When you reach the point where meditation is spontaneous and practice is fluent, you do not know what fire and water are, what Heaven and Earth are, what is interaction, what is one cycle or two cycles, or where to find any distinction between great and small. It is all the operation of one body; though it appears to be most great, it is also small. Each time it takes a turn, the universe and the ten thousand things take a turn with it. It is in the square inch; it is infinitely small and infinitely large.
The firing process of the gold elixir ultimately becomes natural. If it is not natural, then Heaven and Earth will revert on their own to Heaven and Earth; the ten thousand things will go back to be ten thousand things: no matter how hard you try to unite them, you cannot. Then it is like a season of drought, when yin and yang are not in harmony. Even though Qian (Heaven) ☰ and Kun (Earth) ☷ go through their cycles every day, in the end you will see a lot that is artificial. If you can operate yin and yang, turning them properly, then naturally clouds will form and rain will fall, the grass and trees are happy and the mountain and rivers carefree. Even if there is something offensive, you can drop it all at once. This is the Great Heavenly Cycle.
Practitioners ask about living midnight. It is very subtle. If you insist on defining it as true midnight, that would seem to be sticking to forms; but if you do not focus on forms and do not point out true midnight, by what means can the living midnight be known? Once you know living midnight, there is definitely also true midnight. Are they one or two, not true or not living? It all requires you to see the real. Once you see the real, everything is true, everything is alive. If your seeing is not real, what is living, what is true? As for living midnight, when you see it at all times, finally you reach true midnight; your mood is clear and light, and living midnight gradually blooms into ever-greater awareness. At present, people do not yet clearly know the living; just test it out when you head for the true, and the true will appear, while the living will be sublime.
问活子时其妙，必认定正子时似着相，不着相不指明正子时，从何识活子时。 正者现前，活者无不神妙矣。 即识得活子时，确然又有一正子时，是二是一，非正非活，总要人看得真，一真则无不正，无不活矣。见得不真，何者为正，何者为活耶。即如活子时，是人所时时见得的。毕竟到正子时，志气清明，活子时愈觉发现。人未识得活的明了，只向正的时候验取，则正者现前，活者无不神妙矣。人未识得活的明了，只向正的时候验取，则正者现前，活者无不神妙矣。