If the life-energy flows downward, that is, without let or hindrance into the outer world, the anima is victorious over the animus; no spirit-body or Golden Flower is developed, and at death the ego is lost. If the life-energy is led through the backward-flowing process, that is, conserved, and made to rise instead of allowed to dissipate, the animus has been victorious, and the ego persists after death. It then becomes shen, a spirit or god. A man who holds to the way of conservation all through life may reach the stage of the Golden Flower, which then frees the ego from the conflict of the opposites, and it again becomes part of the Tao, the undivided, great One.
Translators of The Secret of the Golden Flower are Richard Wilhelm and Cary F. Baynes. If you missed any posts in this series, please utilize the Golden Flower label below.