Category Archives: Excerpts From the book of Sovereignty

The Flame of Life

The Flame of Life

There are several definitions for Alchemy. The most common is the process that has been in various cultures around the world where there were attempts to transform common metals into gold. There is another perspective and definition that we will be using here and that is

“A power or process that changes or transforms something in a mysterious or impressive way” 

Another word that might give a slightly different view is the modern “Synergy.”

Synergy is defined as an interaction or cooperation giving rise to a whole that is greater than the simple sum of its parts.

Summary: The internal alchemy of Qigong is the harmonizing of the Three Treasures of Qigong to create and sustain the flame of life. 

Here is an example. We all know about fire. We all have a basic idea of how a flame is created by combining three elements: heat, oxygen, and fuel.  

There must be suitable fuel. 

  • There must be enough heat so that the fuel ignites. 
  • There must be enough oxygen to enable the heat and fuel to ignite. 

The flame of fire will only ignite if the conditions between the three elements are exactly right. Exactly right means in balance, in harmony with each other. If the fuel is not exactly right, being too wet, then no flame. If there is not enough heat to ignite the fuel, there is no flame. If there is not enough oxygen for the fuel to ignite, there is no flame.  

But when these conditions between get exactly right, then you have ignition. The term “just right” signifies the ignition point created in the harmonious balance of the three conditions. Harmony is an enormously powerful creative force in nature.  

Another example could be observed through listening. Imagine a group of musicians with different instruments. Each instrument can make sounds that have the potential to sound pleasing. Each instrument must have its own harmony. It must be in good working order. It must be tuned in such a way as to make a pleasing sound. It must be operated in such a way to sound pleasing. This is brought together by the musician who cultivates the ability to play the instrument in a pleasing way. 

When the musician brings the instrument and joins with others, they must all cultivate the ability to play at the same time to create something that sounds pleasing.  

If they each have the wrong rhythm, it is uncoordinated with the rest and not pleasing. 

If they each play sounds not in harmony with the others, it is disharmonious and not pleasing 

If they are not playing the same notes, it is disharmonious and not pleasing. 

But when they play the same notes, all coordinated, and in harmony, something special happens. They create music that is very pleasing to listen to. Music is synonymous with ‘flame’. The basic elements come together in a harmonious way to create something more than the individual parts. 

Qigong is such a synergetic phenomenon that you cultivate the skill to do. The “flame” in Qigong is life force-energy, or vital energy or Qi (chee). Another good description would be “vital energy” and “life-force energy”.  

For the newcomer, it is best to begin by bringing the three elements of “The Three Treasures” into harmony to produce a strong vital life force so that you nurture a robust vital force for the duration of a long life (Longevity).  

Internal Alchemy, as the name implies, is the cultivation of the internal vital energy, Qi. When we are born, we come preloaded with robust vital energy and the ability to continue producing it. This incredibly special life energy that we inherit from our parents is called prenatal Qi. The infant has an abundant amount of the original energy to carry it a long way in life. Yet it is extremely important to nurture and protect it. Once the umbilical cord is cut, the source of the prenatal energy is gone so the infant must protect its original energy and immediately begin producing its own. This self-made energy is called post-Natal Qi.  

The miracle of birth includes the miracle of energy production. All living lifeforms have this aspect of life, of being born already preloaded with internal instruction and the ability to adapt to the environment it finds itself in. This is enough for most non-human lifeforms because they have not evolved to a point where they self-destruct. More from the chapter of “Internal Alchemy – The Flame of Life from the book, The Tao of Longevity, soon to be publish.

In the meantime, please take a look another Tao Cultivator book,

To Experience Life, You Must Rise Above Distraction

morning after sunrise


“…When you are in a moment and fully experiencing the flow of reality around you, it is anything but ordinary. It is only the ego, and its insatiable desire finds life mundane. To experience life, you must rise above distraction and awaken to life as the spiritual being you truly are…” Excerpt from Chapter 43, Life; A Sacred Journey

Paperback Link: Sovereignty front cover





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Yielding &and and Flexibility

Yield and remain whole

Bend and remain straight

Verses 1-2, Chapter 22, Tao Te Ching

Wisdom requires that you must be able to change perspectives when circumstances change. You must be flexible and willing to yield. There is a belief among Sovereign cultivators that it is important to be moderate and avoid absoluteness and rigidity of perspective.

One of the pitfalls of absolutism is that it is inflexible. When something is inflexible, it becomes too rigid and cannot change with its environment. For example, if a tree is flexible and it can bend with the force of each wind gust it tends to survive longer. Trees that are too rigid or too brittle will break when moved by the changing direction of the wind.

Being open-minded allows the assimilation of new data. An absolute perspective is inflexible and stunts growth and innovation. In your personal life, an absolute view will become your prison. So, for the sake of pragmatism, open your mind to the possibilities that are waiting for your discovery.

Wisdom is found in the understanding that most things you perceive in life are changing and impermanent…

From the book  Sovereignty; Chapter 8, Yielding and Flexibility.

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Karma the great executioner

karma the great executioner


People do not fear death

How can they be threatened with death?

If people are made to constantly fear death

Then those who act unlawfully

I can capture and kill them

Who would dare?

There exists a master executioner that kills

If we substitute for the master executioner to kill

It is like substituting for the great carpenter to cut

Those who substitute for the great carpenter to cut

It is rare that they do not hurt their own hands

Chapter 74, Tao Te Ching

The philosophy of Karma has the same principle found in physics. Results are always preceded by an action that produced it. In Taoism, both play a significant role in understanding how the Tao is reflected in the spiritual and physical realm. An even simpler way to put it is, “what comes around goes around.” Alternatively, you may have heard “what you put out into the world comes back to you stronger or bigger.”

Choice and Destiny

“If you want to know your past,

look at your present conditions.

If you want to know your future,

look at your actions today.”

Chinese Proverb- Unknown

Choosing is an action, and the result or effect is destiny. In any given moment you plant the seeds of your future. Inner intentions drive the choices you make, so it is important to be aware of these moments. By reflecting on your past, you can gain insight into the circumstances you realize in the present. These conditions, whether right or bad, are the result of earlier choices. Or they may be the result of someone else’s choice. So, you can see how important the action of choosing is. Not only is it guaranteed to affect your future, but it may, and often does, influence the future of others.

It is essential that you understand the following points:

  • Karma does not play favorites.
  • No one can escape Karmas influence or the destiny they create.
  • Seeds are planted to grow a garden. What you plant now is what you will reap later (the garden is a metaphor for your life).
  • Choices create destiny. What you choose now creates the circumstances of your future (or the future of someone else). The results may come sooner or later.

… No one escapes the effect of karma. When and where the convergence happens is unknown and unpredictable. It may return very soon, or it may not catch up to you until another lifetime. You can run, but you cannot hide.

Paperback Link: Sovereignty front cover





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How To Cultivate Wu Wei

 “No matter what it is you do, there is always a way to do it that is effective, effortless, and enjoyable at the deepest level. This is the true meaning of Wu Wei.”  Derek Lin 

Canyonlands, Utah.

Aerial view of  The Gorge in Canyonlands National park, Utah. Nature doesn’t have an agenda, it doesn’t strive, and it doesn’t have an attachment to outcome.  What separates us from the Tao? Ego


Cultivation & Practice

Cultivate the ability to accomplish more by doing less (effortless achievement) and without striving. This is accomplished through detachment from the outcome.  Be mindful of ego attachments and intentions initiate the reaction.

The softest things of the world

Override the hardest things of the world

That which has no substance

Enters into that which has no openings

From this I know the benefits of unattached actions

The teaching without words

The benefits of actions without attachment

Are rarely matched in the world

Chapter 43, Tao Te Ching

Wu Wei (detached action) takes cultivation and practice. Many times, in hindsight, you will see how you could have succeeded through unattached action. That is how wisdom and skill are developed through trial and error in real life.

Without the ability to be your true self and sovereign over the ego you will be a prisoner to attachments. These attachments cause striving. Attachment to the outcome is something you must be able to choose to let go.

Practice meditation and mindfulness as a discipline so that you can be present and aware of the rip currents occurring in your life. Be willing to see different perspectives, and you will be able to see how to “catch the wave” of effective, effortless, and enjoyable outcomes.

Excerpts from Chapters 11 (Wu Wei) & chapter 31 Cultivate Wu Wei), Sovereignty – The Tao Principle of Self Management.


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How to Take Charge of Your Destiny

Why is this so important? Mindfulness and meditation are necessary to take charge of your destiny. Destiny is the result of choices you make each moment of each day. Sovereignty is the ability to take charge of your destiny and rule over the ego along with its influences over the mind and emotions. Therefore, to transform your life into one of joy and success, you must cultivate the ability to practice mindfulness and be the Sovereign. Excerpt from Chapter 4

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Work on the Self , First

Two people practicing yoga.

Before you can work on your strategies and goals you must lay the foundation for self-discipline. The first discipline that you must commit to is to cultivate your ‘self’ first. Cultivating the ‘self’ means to awaken as the true self and then control the ego-self. Self-awareness is the heart and soul of self-discipline. Only the true self can control the ego-self.

Cultivating self-discipline is done in a state of self-awareness. Cultivating the true self is cultivating virtue and wisdom. So, before you start adopting strategies and goals you must have the wisdom to know which are in unity with the Tao. Without self-control, the ego will lead you astray by subjugating your strategies and goals. You will not be able to stay on the path without being mindful of what you are doing and why you are doing it. Once you commit to the cultivation of the true self, you can begin to have the clarity necessary for developing strategy and goals.

This uncommon insight was given to me early on by my Tao mentor, and I have found it be the most important first strategy to cultivate. Goals without willpower and self-control are just good intentions. The chances of not finishing are much higher without them.

Ego-goals are well intended but almost always fail.

Excerpt from Chapter 26, Sovereignty – The Tao Principle of Self Managment


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The Silent Witness

The Silent Witness

If you practice enough, there will come a time when your skill matures into a relaxed transition into the stillness. You will know when this happens because you will be free from the pull of ego and mind-wandering. You become the silent witness. This is becoming consciously aware without actively thinking about it. This is the center of being. The more you can experience this state, the more you become a part of this nature. Excerpt from chapter 27.

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