Those who connect their heart to hidden things

are thus maintaining ghosts and phantoms.

Yin Xi the Gate Keeper


The previous blog ended with the fact that the learning-sage on the Golden Path does not separate himself from the ten thousand things, but stays in contact with them.

Seen as a microcosm we belong to the timeless not-being; however, as a person we belong to the temporary world of matter, of form. Those two worlds are not separated from each other, for the timelessness pervades the temporary.

They both have their own requirements for us. That is why the learning-sage follows the so-called ‘double course’.

This means that while he keeps his inner eye aimed at the timeless nucleus in the centre, he does in the temporary world whatever he has to do there.

For a start, this concerns himself. In the first line of the Yin Xi’s quote at the beginning of this blog, he says:

Those who connect their heart to hidden things

In ancient Chinese thinking, ‘heart’ means our emotions as well as our thinking. When

in relation to the ‘heart’ is spoken of ‘hidden things’, this refers to our unconsciousness.

Yin Xi continues this line with:

maintain therein ghosts and phantoms.

The word ‘ghosts’ refers to emotions that we were yet unable to give place to in our daily life. They are stored in our subconscious and ‘surface’ at unexpected moments, often in an extremely emotional way.

The word ‘phantoms’ refers to thoughts and ideas with which we identify ourselves. Then a self-image develops that begins to control us unconsciously. Whenever we feel attacked the phantoms are released and emerge in a rather aggressive way.


We might think now that those popping up unconscious things are therewith also cleared so that we never again are bothered by them. But ghosts and phantoms deeply create a needy pattern inside of us that requires nourishing. This happens through events that come to us from the outside. Thus an exchange develops.

That is why Yin Xi says that when our emotions and our thinking emanate from our unconsciousness we maintain ghosts and phantoms.

We can compare this with certain themes that like a red thread weave their way through our life. As long as we are not aware hereof, the risk remains that each time we deal with it in the same way.

This also applies to the learning-sage. Initially he will try – without even realizing – to walk the Path based on these patterns. However, since they are related to his unconscious identifications they are literally blocking his Path. On the inner Path self-knowledge is indispensable. For that reason it is important that the learning-sage becomes aware how these patterns are influencing him.

Below follow three lines from verse 50 of the Daodejing. Each line mentions only a single way n which  people are living their life unconsciously and how they identify themselves with what is happening in their life.

Next to every line Yin Xi the Gate Keeper is quoted. In a visual way he indicates the effect on a human being of this specific way of life.

The first line says:


Daodejing 50

Three out of ten

are followers of the life.

Yin Xi the Gate Keeper

Some turn themselves into a clay puppet

and see this as the own person.


Chinese commentators on the Daodejing are of the opinion that Lao Zi does not literally mean three out of every ten people, but he refers to an aspect of our human being that lives in each one of us, which in some of us predominates.

In this line Lao Zu refers to a type of human being that sees life as the only reality. He allows himself to be dragged along by the stream of life when it reaches him from the outside. He only reacts to it when there is no other option and then preferably in a way that he thinks is expected from him. He identifies himself with the fact of not having to take any responsibility, thus risking the danger of stiffening.

It is possible that through this attitude the learning-sage initially thinks he can go the Path, based on the thought that after all any activity emanates from the ego.

However, then the danger arises that the Wu Wei which is asked from him on the Path is being understood as ‘doing-nothing’. He then unconsciously identifies with the ‘good pupil’ and believes he is on the right track.


Daodejing 50

Three out of ten are followers of death.

Yin Xi the Gate Keeper

Some reject the own body as being

a reservoir of failure.


In this line Lao Zu refers to the type of human being who denies the value of the temporary life, which is seen as a necessary evil that merely serves as a preparation for an eternal and happy existence after death.

From this perspective not so much good can be expected from the body. Life is experienced as a heavy burden that has to be patiently endured.

This human being identifies himself with disengagement.

It is possible that based on this attitude the learning-sage initially means to be able to go the Path, because disengagement is after all an important issue.

But that does not mean that the body can be ignored as if it would have no value. It is on the contrary an important instrument on the Path of Inner Alchemy and deserves a respectful treatment.


Daodejing 50

People who live an overactive life,

go to the place of death; 

equally three out of ten.

Yin Xi the Gate Keeper

Some paint themselves in bright colors 

and identify themselves therewith.


In this line Lao Zu refers to the type of human being who wants to get everything out of life, often even in an extreme way. Many times he connects himself with great extravagance with everything that can contribute to his pleasure. Life is abundantly celebrated in dazzling colors. Because of this he uses redundant life energy which will cause his early death.

This person identifies himself with boundless happiness.

It may be possible that based on this optimistic attitude the learning-sage initially thinks he can go the Path. Especially at the very beginning he can feel endlessly happy.

Ahead of him lies a totally different life than the ordinary one. Being enlightened or even liberated seem to be approaching him. He is therefore ready to do everything in order to reach this. But on the Path he needs precisely to let go voluntarily of everything that arises from his will….


Those who are able to manage their emotions

are able to connect with Dao.

Yin Xi the Gate Keeper


Going the Path requires profound insight in who we are, what we do and why we do it. All the above patterns are also hiding within the learning-sage. He therefore needs to face them.

If he doesn’t, he will continue to connect himself, herself, with the hidden motives from his unconsciousness. This leads to mystification when going the Inner Path. New ghosts and phantoms are the consequence thereof.

In verse 50 Lao Zu speaks three times of ‘three out of ten’. Together that is therefore ninety percent. This means that he does not talk about ‘one out of ten’, so ten percent.

From the rest of verse 50 it appears that those ten percent are part of our innate ability that gives us the opportunity to go the Path. However, this requires another discussion, which will be done in the next blog.


Dao cannot be reached by wishes, hope and desire,

 Think not about Dao, then it is near.

Yin Xi the Gate Keeper

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