In her book Wisdom Walk Sage Bennet says, “Taoism teaches us to life of life of harmony with the invisible mystery woven throughout the matrix of wisdom. We are invited to learn to have an open posture to life that allows u s to intuitively flow with life’s ever-changing currents. This way of acting spontaneously and going with the flow gives us a new freedom. Practicing this dance we learn to cultivate patience, wait for the right time to act or yield, and learn to move with the rhythm of energies as they move between the complementary opposites of yin and yang” (179).
For this week’s spiritual exercise, I’d like to suggest that we practice the balance recommended by Lao-tzu. Daoism recommend cultivating the balance we find in nature. This balance is characterized unity of as yin and yang where yin is characterized as slow, soft, yielding, diffuse, cold, wet, and passive, and is associated with water, earth, the moon, femininity and nighttime while yang is described, by contrast, as fast, hard, solid, focused, hot, dry, and aggressive, and is associated with fire, sky, the sun, masculinity and daytime.
Because at the time the Tao-Te-Ching was written the active yang-styles forces of Confucianism were predominate Lao-tzu recommended the passive way of water. However, some of us are too passive and need more active, fiery energy in our lives. Sage recommends preceding each decision with the question, Is yin or yang needed here? Do we need to step back and approach this decision from a feminine, yielding, slow, diffuse position or from a masculine, aggressive, fast, hard position? Some of us characteristically act with fiery yang energy while others of us are more passive, preferring the soreness of yin energy. Our goal this week is to try to choose the position that is most appropriate to the situation. If you tend toward yang, consider how acting more yin-like would feel, perhaps waiting is the right answer. On the other hand, if you tend toward yin, consider how acting more forcefully might feel. Is not the time to take matters into your own hand and act assertively? No position is always right and as the yin/yang symbol reminds each position contains the seed of its opposite.
Use your meditation or prayer time to consider the possibility of action or inaction. Which is most appropriate right now? It is often scary to step out of our habitual way of acting but challenge yourself.