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Zhuangzi and the Butterfly

Zhuangzi was a Taoist sage who lived during the 4th century BCE. His butterfly dream poem is among the most famous passages in ancient Chinese literature.  In this poem, he writes about a dream that he had of being a butterfly, flying about enjoying itself. It did not know that it was Zhuangzi. Suddenly he awoke, and was Zhuangzi again. He did not know whether it was Zhuangzi dreaming that he was a butterfly, or whether it was the butterfly dreaming that it was Zhuangzi.

Butterfly Dream

All day long, he floated on the breeze
Without a thought of who he was or where he was going.
When he awoke, Zhuangzi became confused.
“Am I a Man”, he thought,
“who dreamed that I was a butterfly?
Or am I butterfly, dreaming that I am a man?
Perhaps my whole waking life is
but a moment in a butterfly’s dream!
This is a story of transformation”

Wisdom of the Soul

When your soul is in-flight, mid-dream, it is following the wisdom of the soul, to a realm that blossoms forth fully-formed, and is completely awakened.  

When we sleep and are dreaming, we enter into another dimension.  This dimension is misty and ever-changing.  Its wave forms shimmer at the touch of a thought, and it reinvents itself to match up with our increased knowledge and awareness.  It understands that to teach, it must lower itself to the level of the student, and become of one mind with the student.  As the student progresses, it rises up to match the student’s understanding of the subject matter.  To increase the student’s knowledge, new information surfaces at the exact moment that it is needed, and like the most skillful teachers, it does this serendipitously, without leaving tracks of its shepherding.

When we pay heed to our dreams, we allow ourselves to be guided by our fully-awakened self.  We are then able to continue the process of remembering what we have forgotten, when as reincarnated souls, we slipped from a higher dimension into a lower one.

To make the most of the teachings of our soul, the best way to do this is to document our dreams, no matter how strange it may be.  Much like the game of Charades, our soul speaks in sights, sounds, scents, and emotions.  When there is a lesson to be learned, the dreams will drive home the lesson in repeated messages, couched in various different scenes all revolving around the same theme.  The best method to decode the messages that come from our dreams is to document the dreams.  This is how I do it.  Understanding the messages will take time and effort, but in the end, the ultimate reason for existence is the development of the soul.

Follow the Leader

Everywhere you go these days, it seems as if everybody wants to be a leader and nobody wants to be a follower. But the truth is, you only need a few Indian chiefs in any organization. For that organization to run effectively, the majority of those within that organization have to be a productive worker. That’s fairly common sense, but this position is seen as less than noble, less than aspiring, and less than glamorous. After all, who wants to be the earth when they can be the sky? Who wants to be the individual contributor when they can be the CEO?

Unfortunately, without terra firma to anchor your feet, when you reach for the sky, you will fall on your face. The importance, and indeed, the crucial necessity of those who do the support work behind the scenes, those who have the backs of their fearless leaders, those who toil unnoticed and underappreciated; this cannot be overstated. The workers are the ones who carry the world on their backs and make it go round. They are stoic and enduring, and in fact, comprise the bulk of the humanity of the world. They are the 99%.

All things build upon the stability of the foundation which is what the 99% embody. Without the necessary workforce behind you, you have nobody to lead and nothing with which to build a great civilization upon. This is the power of the collective operative. This is the power of the Receptive.

K’un / The Receptive

When all lines are broken and all lines are young, the message is ubiquitous and explicit—ground yourself so that you can be the ground for others.

The Image:

The earth’s condition is receptive devotion.
Thus the superior man who has breadth of character
Carries the outer world.

The Judgement:
The Receptive brings about sublime success,
Furthering through the perseverance of a mare
If the superior man undertakes something and tries to lead,
He goes astray;
But if he follows, he finds guidance.
It is favorable to find friends in the west and south,
To forego friends in the east and north.
Quiet perseverance brings good fortune.


In readings, if the Receptive comes up at the coin toss, it is highly suggested that the reader take a step back and follow the lead of another who may be better suited to the task at hand due to their knowledge base or their higher skill level. There is nothing wrong with learning from or taking direction from those who have more experience. Sometimes, it is almost a sure way for everyone to win as a team.