The Katonah practice makes abundant use of metaphor, and by the end of Kyle’s classes I’m often left pondering mouth-watering topics like whipped cream and cookies.
Combine that with about 40 hours of Taoism training I’ve done with Kyle this year and it creates a fertile ground for insights.
This is a little peek into some ideas in formation.
Agitation + Alchemy
If you pour cream into a bowl and whisk it for long enough, you’ll eventually get whipped cream. Whisking the cream changes the structure from a liquid to a semi-solid by introducing air into it.
You change the property of the cream simply by agitating it and introducing another element to it: air.
This is an example of alchemy, a process of altering and transforming one thing into something else.
Cream + Air = Whipped Cream.
It’s also an example of 1+1=3: one thing (cream) plus another thing (air) yields a third thing (whipped cream).
If you keep agitating the cream, adding more air, you’ll eventually get butter.
By agitating the cream and introducing the element of air, we can thus turn a liquid into a solid.
We get something different from what we started with.
Alchemy creates a transformation, as opposed to merely a change.
Change is a constant in life, but not all change is transformation.
Consider the cream we whipped into butter.
If you melt butter, you get melted butter — not cream!
Similarly, if you melt a cookie, you don’t suddenly get raw cookie dough. The process of baking transforms the cookie dough into something else. You can’t go back to raw cookie dough.
If you burn wood, you’ll create ashes. You can’t turn the ashes back into wood.
Through the alchemical process, the structure of the thing we had is dissolved, and a new structure is created.
This creates an entirely new thing.
This aligns with the concept that nature doesn’t go backward. Once you transform something, it takes on a new nature. It doesn’t go back to what it was.
Life is always moving forward.