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The Unity of The Tree of Life in Four Dimensions

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In the first part of this article, we discussed the first three aspects of The Tree of Life symbolism, as correlated with the Four PaRDeS of interpretation. Examples of the literal, allegorical and comparative aspects of The Tree of Life symbolism are explored through the fable of The Four Harmonious Friends and the four dimensions of The Tree of Life. Now for the fourth, secretive aspects.

To be sure, the vast majority of secretive aspects within such fables, adages, mythos, theological, religious and spiritual lessons of the world concern our individuation, our self-development and our empowerment. The secretive dimension of The Tree of Life too concerns our own blossoming, our own fruition of our consciousness and of our natural selves. The Tree of Life represents a link between man and idea, and between idea and god, and ultimately god and man, implying and inspiring human growth and the growth of humanity, the expansion of consciousness. The Tree of Life symbolizes the individual becoming, the mortal reaching for godliness through idea like the tree reaches for the Sun.

A correlating lesson contained in the four dimensions of The Tree of Life and The Four Harmonious Friends reveals that even if we are not sensitive to subtle energetics and unseen interrelationships, the energetics remain, the relationships do not require our awareness to exist. Our lack of awareness of the origination of energy does not negate its origin, nor does our lack of comprehension influence interrelated reality. The following comparative and secretive aspects related to the blossoming of human and humanity consciousness does not necessarily verify the following sets of four to be directly related to The Tree of Life nor one another, but certainly there is a mutual recognition of certain principles at least. These revealing and intriguing sets of four to reveal and clarify the secretive aspect of The Tree of Life, the self-development aspects of growth through contrasting and mirroring concepts related to individual and universal or godly energy.

Tai Chi and older Chi Gung practices are devoted to developing and empowering ourselves, to the matter of human maintenance and growth, including gaining awareness to subtle energy. In Tai Chi there are four aspects of energy. Many times there only three that are considered but indeed like many sets of four, the fourth aspect is often overlooked, hidden, unsaid not necessarily due to secretive inclination, but rather its very nature of elusiveness and silence.

Yin Yang
Yin Yang
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Yin Yang, Tai Chi Energy

In Tai Chi and Chi Gung there are numerous types of energies and numerous ways to contrast and compliment such these energies, yet there are four base energies, four main energetic aspects, from which the numerous variations emanate. When these energies coalesce from Wu Ji or nothingness into the world they can then be represented by The Taiji Symbol. The Taiji, commonly known as Yin Yang is made up of the four aspects; Major/Minor Yin and Major/Minor Yang. These are the swirls and the dots within the swirls.

Taoist philosophy proposes that from Wuji, the nothingness, came The Taiji, the Grand Ultimate, and from there the Taijitu, The Diagram of The Grand Ultimate and from the Taijitu (Yin Yang Symbol) came the myriad things. Deeper still and comparatively there are four types of energy our very physical and psychological being interacts with, displays and is dependent on. The first three here are known as The Three Treasures in Traditional Chinese Medicine.


The most obvious, most well known, of the subtle energies is Chi. Chi is essentially the difference between you and steak. It is the most viscous and tangible life force and though not breath, it synonymous with the breath. Expansion of our Chi results from practicing breath control, meditation, exercise, quality diet and energy cultivation. Chi is the life force within everything and can best understood as compressed air and circulates with the blood. Chi is influenceable, changeable and cycles.


The next more subtle energy is Jing. Jing is a primary primordial physical essence. Fa Jing is a refined primordial energy, specifically an explosive movement under condensed Chi. Chi is like compressed air, activated steam power of water and air under concentrated circumstances, Fa Jing is like the electricity resulting from such a turbine. We are born with our own personal Jing responsible for the design of being, for our own psychological/physical body, potential, predicament.


Shen is the most subtle energy of the Three Treasures. It is the highest type of energy we can develop sensitivity to, with training/practice. Shen is highly refined spiritual, psychic energy. With practice it is possible to enhance perimeter awareness both physically and metaphysically. When we are in the zone, with access to Shen, we become sensitive to things and sensitive to problem solving most effectively before the problem even arises. The more we develop our Shen awareness the more we comprehend self and totality.


The fourth type of energy is the most subtle and as the name suggests despite it being the most difficult to sense in our physical basic position, it is the origination aspect, like the Peacock in The Fable of The Four Harmonious Friends, and like the most subtle dimension of The Tree of LIfe. The fourth aspect is the Primordial Tao, the nothingness, the Wu Ji, from which all else originates.

The ubiquitous Tree of Life symbolism unites the individual with the universal. The Tree of Life symbolism offers numerous lessons as varietal as the cultures using it. Among these numerous lessons and interpretations The Tree widely relates the idea of energy which we are dependent on and intertwined with, and that we ourselves mirror. The universal tree is as our own individual tree.

The Tree of Life is symbolic for God and godliness, and relates correspondences among them being that the growth of the individual is reflected in the growth of a tree and the growth of a set of ideas as represented by trees and branches, or schools of thought. Individuals seek individuation - if the conditions and setting is right for such ripening - just as trees seek fruition. Individuals aspire to expand our roots (knowledge and principles) and extend our branches (apply principles in wisdom toward creation and ascension).

The Tree of Life is symbolic for our individual consciousness in correspondence with the universal consciousness and further for the expansion of our unique consciousness as individuals. With that in mind The Tree of Life is a primordial symbol, of consciousness expansion, of connection, of interdependency, and of self-development, through idea, through spirituality, as opposed to dogmatic religiosity.

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Ethan was raised in Maine, Manhattan, and Mendocino, California. Ethan has traveled the world and has been employed as a Private Detective, a dishwasher, a valet, a snowboard instructor and always a poet. Ethan Indigo Smith (more...)

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