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The Caldron

The I Ching hexagram for the Caldron Ting/The Caldron
Changing to Sui/Following in the Tao. 


The Ting is a special kind of bowl. The Chinese used it to serve honored guests.

It has a special place in the ancient Chinese book of Change, the "I Ching".

After a fashion, you could say the bookI Ching was a cauldron of stewing ideas just waiting for the host to dish out servings to hungry minds.

The host, in the case of the I Ching, is change itself dressed in its finery of chance.

This exercise is like that, too. Full of high caloric imagery your mind can feed on. What's in it? The Thread of Awareness itself; 8 mind levels simmered into view by Om Mani Padma Hum. Flavored with natural spices.

You should first do the 8 mind level exercise and the Om Mani Padma Hum exercise before you get into the Caldron.

This exercise seems complicated at first, but it isn't really once you are familiar with the 8 mind levels. This is basically the same excercise Chinese Style.

Like any recipe, feel free to adapt the general parts to fit the scenes available to you. It is best served during early morning exercise, and is tastiest in wilderness, near a mountain stream.

Read it over, start simply with a few tests, let it ripen by itself.

The ingredients.

Wind:  The wind is the flow of energy of the universe, the unformed, life giving elements surging into and out of your focus. Real wind is a good example.

Wood: The wood represents all the elements of Earth. As in a tree or your body. It is the receptive. Your body is the position of the 100 trillion little beings that dance your form and movement.

Flame: The flame is spirit, the hot mix of the energy of the universe igniting and rising in the wood. You have to feel this one. If you are running it's easy cause you get hot.

Metal: The cauldron is metal. This is creativity (metal isn't natural, you know). Also perserverence, duty, even reverence.

Water: Water is water. But it has 4 states. These are Chaos, Steam, River, and Ocean. (Skip ice, snow and rain for this one).


Here's how you prepare the exercise. Remember, this is a variation of the 8 mind level exercise.

Warm up with Yin/Yang and walking or jogging in nature. Maybe a few rounds of Om Mani Padma Hum as appetizers.

Contact the wind.

Feel the wind flowing all around you and through you, weaving in and out of the threads of your being. Feel the wind entering you and leaving you with each breath (the Yin and Yang exercise). Keep this up till you actually become the wind blowing through your focus, the trees, over the hills or whatever is around you.

Contact the wood. 

Now you are the wind contacting the wood. The wind flows through and around the wood. Integrate the wind and the wood. Become the wood. Now you are the wood feeling the wind flowing through it. Think of the wood as the elements of the earth, the atoms creating your running form, the form of the trees. When you truly are the wood feeling the wind blowing over you feel the wind ignite the wood and together form the flame.

Contact the flame.

The flame is your spirit, the light by which all creatures perceive one another. The spirit is the dancing fire of energy formed as the wind integrates with the dancing beings of your body. You are the wind and the wood united. The flame is their motion and heat. It is your motion and heat. Integrate the flame and the wood and the wind. Stir these together into the trees, plants, all living things around you as you run (or walk) until you are the flame rising up from the wind and the wood.

Contact the cauldron.

The integrated flame and wood and wind forge the metal cauldron. The cauldron represents creativity, mind making something brand new and different. Contact the cauldron. It prepares the nourishment of the divine. Integrate the cauldron, the flame, the wood and the wind. Feel the spirit heating the metal of creativity. Become the cauldron, become creativity.

Contact the water.

Within the cauldron is water. Water represents chaos, the unformed material giving rise to all. Contact the water. Integrate the water, the cauldron, the flame, the wood, and the wind. Feel the metal of creativity heated by spirit created by the wind burning the wood. Become the water. Become the water in yourself, in the trees, in the earth, in whatever water is around you. Become the water of chaos, churning with the heat of spirit and now become aware that you have come to a new phase, crossed a barrier of metal to leave behind the wind and the wood and the fire and the metal elements to become an abstraction emerging from chaos.

Contact the spirit.

The energy of the universe, integrated with the dance of life forms the fire of spirit and is focused by reverence and love to heat the liquid chaos. This causes the water to boil, thus creating order out of chaos, forming perfect spheres where the flames of spirit lick through the metal lens of creativity. Contact the creativity of order from chaos. Integrate the creativity of order from chaos with the water, the cauldron, the flame, the wood and the wind. Become the spheres of life rising up, churning chaos itself.

Contact the seeds.

The bubbles rise to the surface and the cauldron overflows. The river of creativity is called The Way. The spherical eggs formed by the process of elements becoming is its source. It is born from the cauldron as an infant, a tiny stream flowing down the mountain of becoming, twisting and turning in the course of existence. Joined by tributaries from all the bright glowing centers of creation it grows larger and larger until it is a mighty river.

Contact the river.

Contact the River called The Way. Find yourself flowing within it, carried along by the mighty flow. As you pass through the course of existence the current of the river becomes time. And it seems you are adrift in the eddies of an endless flow of time. The past recedes along the shore as you descend the mountain from birth to death and the future rushes towards you. If you are lucky enough to have a mountain stream or a river to observe look up stream to see the past, downstream to see the future and feel how different the two views are.

Contact the sea.

The River flows into This Magic Sea, entering the vast ocean of our planet. The past and the future vanish. The mountain is gone. Become This Magic Sea. Feel it's depth and expanse. Expand within This Magic Sea and sense the currents, the energy within it. Feel the energy moving within This Magic Sea. Become aware that the energy comes from the surface where the sun contacts the water. Rise to the heat of the sun and emerge from This Magic Sea into the Air. Contact the wind. Become the wind.

Integrate the 8 steps

Integrate the 8 steps of the cycle from the ocean, the wind, the wood, the flame, the cauldron, the water, the steam, the river. Reveal to your deeper self the 8 phases as one entity, ever flowing from its creation to its dispersion in This Magic Sea and back. What seems to you, adrift in experience, as time is but one mighty river existing all at once from its birth to its ending. For The Way, time is all one interval of awareness, born in creativity and ending in understanding.

Contact the Observer

Contact the awareness of The Way. See yourself at the source, when you were created. See yourself at the moment of understanding as you enter this Magic Sea of Knowledge. You exist in the river everywhere, all at once.

Contact the young observer

Contact yourself as a youth. See yourself in the currents of experience as you drift through life as a child. Integrate your present self with the youth in the river of life. Realize the child formed before you did, it has existed longer than you have. It gave rise to you. Therefore the child, still within you, is the eldest and you are the newest, youngest, most resilient and most powerful you.

Contact the future observer

Contact the you in the future. It has not yet come to pass from your viewpoint in time. It will be your child, yet it will be older than you are now. It will be closer to This Magic Sea and will know The Way. The you in the future can guide you if you defer to it and show it respect as the elder child within you defers to you and shows you respect. Integrate the you in the future with the you in the past and the you in the present.

Through The Way, communicate between all of your selves.

Thus The Way becomes self-evident, self-creating, self fulfilling.

Your being flows with the force and there is great success and happiness in all that you do.

Add some seasoning:

Perceive only the you of the now, running. Alone. Attempt to hold on to the passing shores of experience and the conditions of life. Focus on your life now. Hold on to what you are now. Discover you are floating ever backwards, grasping at the veiled beauty of becoming, holding onto rocks for security against the raging torrents of time that sweep you onward toward oblivion. No matter how hard you try to grasp the physical realities of experience, the currents of time weaken your grasp and carry you away on the rip tide of age.

For desert:

Contact The Way. Integrate The Way and the infinity of selves that ride the flow of experience. The currents resolve into a transparent, smoothly flowing light called Joy. Guided by your future selves, followed faithfully by your elder child within, you are free to fly joyously, as in a wondrous lucid dream, to any destinations your infinite self can imagine.

When you learn, thus, to soar and fly on the river of life, you will make a wondrous discovery upon entering, at last, This Magic Sea of Knowledge.

Contact This Magic Sea.

Integrate This Magic Sea with the inner you that knows joy and love and peace and harmony. Feel yourself uplifted and spread out to become the Wind. Feel the Wind integrate with the wood and ignite to become the spiritual flame. Feel the wind and wood and flame shape itself with reverence and understanding into the cauldron. Experience the wind and wood and flame and cauldron heat the water of chaos and become, once again, the creative, the source, the beginning of The Way to This Magic Sea. Integrate with all the living beings and all the centers of creation and all the spiritual flames and all the dance of life and all the flowing unformed energies of life. Become This Magic Sea of Knowledge.

This is a test:

Can you recognize the 8 mind levels and Om Mani Padma Hum  in this exercise?

Try the vegetarian version.

Try the Zero Calorie version

Check the Caldron out in action in New Caledonia

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