Taiji and the spiral staircase


I love this spiral staircase. It belonged to a retreat centre in Oxford and, at the time, it felt truly amazing to lay underneath it and look up to the light.. many years ago now. -

These days it makes me think of 'Taiji', the Daoist idea of an ever expanding spiral force, a wave o energy, which spins infinitely outward from a central point. A 'something', which came into existence from 'nothing'.

The idea of Taiji can be quite an abstract one to understand for us in the West, and for me, I found it helpful to look at it in relation to the Big Bang Theory. This suggests that there is a single point (or single moment in time if you like, some  13.7 billion years ago) in which existence began and everything we perceive with our consciousness (what IS that anyway?!), everything we see, and touch, and taste, and hear, and smell and feel... all of existence, all galaxies and everything in them, came from this one point, this singularity; an apparently infinitely dense, infinitely tiny and blazing hot 'something' which exploded into existence from nothing..

So, what is that force and from where did it come? This force is Taiji, before this force, or singularity, or Big Bang, 'nothing' existed and this 'something', this rapid explosion which unfolded and became everything we know, continues to expand into the ether of nothingness. In Daoist thought this 'nothingness' can be likened to 'Wuji', the nothing which existed before the spiral activity of Taiji (or the 'Big Bang'). Wuji is like a field of potential, a blank canvas on which Taiji, or 'something' can exist...

Helen Meacham