Yin and Yang

Facing Fear and Uncertainty

By: - Apr 09, 2020

Yin and yang, two opposing forces, the dynamic tension between which animates all things.  From the cold of winter, to the promise of spring, and the warmth of summer.  

I read a poll reported in this morning’s news on when “things” would return to “normal.”  Thirty-seven percent of those polled believed it would occur next year; eleven percent said never.  Nearly half of those asked don’t see the pendulum swing, if at all, for the remainder of 2020.

There is a line from the movie “Tombstone,” spoken by Doc Holliday to Wyatt Earp: “There is no normal life, Wyatt. There is just life.” I recalled this scene as I read the poll.

Things have changed, certainly.  But this is not new. Yes, the cause is different, but change is not.  The results are devastating on many levels, and the measurement of time till the end of danger is far away and unknown at the moment.

Most do not like change.  They resist it always. It is painful and scary.  Safe is preferred, always knowing is preferred, controlling is preferred.  These are illusions, though. 

Those who walk a Daoist path understand that we are never truly safe or in control of everything around us.  Life cannot be controlled any more than nature can be controlled. We recognize that everything changes, and quite regularly at that.  It is why we cultivate stillness with our daily practices and devotionals.

Stillness helps us remain in each moment, engaging it fully merely as it is, not as we may wish it to be.  In that present moment awareness, we have no time for wishes, and in fact see the folly in making them. Wishing a return to “normal” life is that folly, or at least 11% of those polled say so.

There are positions in all taiji forms where we plant one foot ever so firmly all the way down to the center of the earth in our visualization of it.  No incoming energy will be able to move us. Yet, even in this position we do not lock our knee; we leave it slightly flexed because things can change quickly.  We know this from our acceptance of yin and yang, and we remain nimble enough to adjust to any change.

Stillness brings us into the present moment and plants us firmly there.  We see each moment as it truly is, and can adjust to it nimbly and respond to it correctly.

Stillness keeps us grounded.  Everything around us may change, but we do not. We find that point of quiet and calm, we see the moment for what it is, and we act.  There is not even time for judgment, to determine good and bad. In that quiet and calm, the correct response arises as if on its own.

There is hardship, sickness and death all around us today.  There is fear and uncertainty. And there is change.

But with the discipline of daily practices, especially meditation, and the cultivation of stillness, we can become the calm in the storm swirling around us.  We can recognize what each moment requires of us, and respond accordingly.  

Yes, there has been change.  And, yes, there will be further change.  A return to “normal” life is unlikely, if there even is such a thing.  

Rather, accept that you cannot control change, or wish it away.  Be that stillness among all that surrounds you. Maintain your practice.  Cultivate stillness. Share it with everyone around you.  

Change and stillness, the yin and yang of things.