An important stage of internal alchemy practice is finding our True Self (Zhenwo 真我). When we form the Sacred Embryo we need to gather and nourish our True Self, however to do this we first need to sort through the various parts of ourselves. One method for this is called Hear our Father Recall our Mother (Ting Fu Yi Mu 聽父憶母).
From the Taoist perspective we are made of three parts, this is known as the Three Pin 三品. A person has three types of pin, which often refers to our three inner spaces:
Head cavity is Heaven
Chest cavity is human
Abdomen cavity is Earth
However, the Three Pin also refer to the fact that we are a product composed of three parts: ourself, our mother and our father. When I look at my son I see myself in him, I see his mother in him, and also something else, something that is unique to him, which is him. These are the three parts, that make him, him.
Therefore, for better or worse, our parents are a part of us. And since Taoist alchemy is concerned with finding our True Selves, understanding our parents and the relationship we have with them is part of our work.
Of course there is a method, and the primary method Taoists use is called Hear our Father Recall our Mother. Although I’m sure anyone can use this method, it is best practiced with internal alchemy.
Hear our Father Recall our Mother:
- Regulate body and mind for a good 20 mins or so, enter stillness and empty the body
- Focus outside our bodies in front of our eyes, and in a gentle wuwei manner allow an image of our mother (or father, or both) to appear.
- The image needs to match both our mind memory and our body memory, this image can’t be forced, it should naturally appear, and might not be what we expect.
- Two things might happen: either the image will be clear or unclear. If the image is not clear it means they are far from us and should be made closer.
- Note the details of the image clearly: age, colour, facial expression, location, is it just a face or are they in a room etc.
- Stay focused on the image, no random thoughts. Note what we feel, whether love or hate.
- Have dialogue with image. Say whatever needs to be said, whether positive or not. Try not to think too much, but just say whatever is there. This might be about who is right/wrong or why they did something.
- Inhale, bring image from in front of eyes through our Celestial Eye and down the midline of our body into our Lower Field (lower dantian). Nourish the image inside for a while.
A note about visualization. When working with images in neidan practice we don’t consciously create them, we open a space and allow them to arise. If they don’t, they don’t. And if something else arises, go with it. We don’t control. No random thoughts. That’s why this practice is best done after familiarity with internal alchemy practice in general.
This practice can also be done with ancestors or any blood relation, and is a great way to diminish our ego-self (zijue 自覺, lit. sense of self), our sense of being right.