Tuesday, June 15, 2010

It's balance, really ...

It must be age. Increasingly I have found myself drawn to those philosophies that suggest balance is the way to go. Aristotle had it with his "golden mean." Buddhism has it with the "middle way." Stoicism had it with a moderate life. In days gone by I liked the excitement of the extreme. You'll find me now closer to the middle somewhere, hopefully balanced.

Taiji is about balance. Physical balance of course. (I can now stand on one leg, perfectly still, longer than I ever thought possible!) But, much more than that. Taiji signals a life in balance. As yang ends yin begins. As yin wanes yang waxes. So, balance need not be the boring middle, but the gentle flow from one side to the other. The Psalmist long ago penned:
Weeping may endure for a night,
But joy comes in the morning.
Sad today? Be sure happiness will be yours soon. Happy today? Be ready, for life will bring its sadnesses.

Balance comes through nonresistance to the changes of life. Are you feeling pushed? Don't push back. Allow the push to exhaust itself. Roll back. As whatever is pushing you runs out of steam (as it will) be ready to press forward. Is something pulling you? If you pull back against it, you will be out of balance. Allow it to pull you. Stick with it. It will soon reach its end. Then you can pull back. In balance.

Taiji practice teaches to notice movement, change, to be balanced in the flow of life, ready for the next change, ready and willing to meet it.


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