I kid you not!
I was born with three from Dad and seven from Mom, for a grand total of ten full souls. Dad’s three (Sảng Linh, Thai Quang, and U Tinh) are called Hồn (魂 ), Mom’s seven (Thi Cẩu, Phục Thỉ, Tước Âm, Thôn Tặc, Phi Độc, Trừ Uế, and Xú Phế) are called Vía (魄), and it may seem a bit excessive to have this many souls jangling around inside one body, but I really truly need them all, so I’m told. One too few Hồns and I would have been born a mental idiot. A couple missing Vía and I would have been physically challenged.
All of this, I am assured, is the truth by Master Hua-Ching Ni, in I Ching, the Book of Changes and the Unchanging Truth.
Master Hua-Ching Ni lives in SoCal, by the way, so if I ever get the urge, I could quite possibly visit him and straighten out some questions about the Hồns and the Vía that he talks about in his book.
Of course, my loving family would tell you sometimes, that it seems as if one or more of my Hồns are always sleeping on the job, or another of my Vía seem to be somewhat on the klutzy side. This is not strictly true, of course, as the reason why I act as I do probably has more to do with my scattered brain trying to cope with doing too many things all at once, and less to do with certain souls’ tendencies to act up and ‘jerk my chain’, so to speak.
Like Snow White’s dwarves, each of the souls has its own quirks and personalities. Sometimes, these personalities manifest themselves, unbeknownst to me, as odd traits that I cannot explain, such as certain obsessive-compulsive behaviors, or extreme likes and dislikes. Truth of the matter is, they are all good souls and try their best to keep me on the level, well-balanced, and straight-up. I, on the other hand, try my best to be tight and not embarrass them too badly, although sometimes, I still cause the occasional gaffe.
Having established the fact that I can’t do without even one of them, the best (and only possible way) to deal with all ten souls is to unify and integrate them so they work as a perfectly functioning unit, as the one spirit/soul that I always thought I had.
The Tao Te Ching, translated by Master Taoist Derek Lin, among other texts, dispenses advice for the development of the spirit/soul. Come to think about it, he lives in SoCal too, so I could quite possibly go and visit him as well, and ask him about the perplexing complexities of the difference between the Hồns and the Vías .
Chapter 10 of the Tao Te Ching says:
In holding the soul and embracing oneness
Can one be steadfast, without straying?
In concentrating the energy and reaching relaxation
Can one be like an infant?
In cleaning away the worldly view
Can one be without imperfections?
In loving the people and ruling the nation
Can one be without manipulation?
In the heavenly gate’s opening and closing
Can one hold to the feminine principle?
In understanding clearly all directions
Can one be without intellectuality?
All that ancient poetry about ’embracing oneness’ and ‘heavenly gates opening and closing’ basically talks about spiritual cultivation, which leads to self-integration, and self-transcendence. No worries, fellow Babes. These concepts are not that difficult to grasp.
Self-integration is simply the unification, or the culmination of all the souls together into a tightly knit, well-oiled precision machine that can work together in perfect harmony. All the fragments then become one complex soul, with a single point of intelligence guiding it, the individual. When this happens, we have reached that blessed state of spiritual/soulful Wu Wei.
Self-transcendence simply means that once we’ve reached the state of Wu Wei, we don’t have to keep steering the wheel any longer. We can let go, and allow the ten souls the freedom to do what they do best, so we can have the freedom to explore the universe and do what we do best, which is to experience and learn and attain enlightenment.
So, that is what the true Tao Babe needs to focus on. Unite the souls into one entity, and then cultivate it so that it can be set free, and in the process, we set ourselves free to simultaneously embrace the universe and to become one with the energy source.
I wrote more about this in my post, Light and Dark Spirits, but I want to explore the Hồns and the Vías in more detail, so we need to continue this conversation in my next posting about this subject.
(Continue to Hồn Vía (Part 2): The Selling and Bartering of Souls)