The Tao Te Ching can offer new insights about what we've been experiencing during these past two years of Covid restrictions. Ordinarily, American culture is extremely yang—active, busy, with nonstop commitments, noise, and external stimulation. For many of us, rushing from one thing to the next had become a mindless habit. Then with Covid, we've been shocked out of our habitual yang activity. One friend of mine says we've been under "house arrest,"
We've had more yin time to ourselves, to reflect, to ask if what we've been doing makes sense. With the Great Resignation, many people have quit their jobs, gone back to school, seeking new professions, new directions in their lives.
The Tao reminds us that contemplative yin time brings awareness and yang is action. Without yin, yang is mindless action. Without yang, inaction leads to stagnation. We need balance.
As we emerge from these many months of enforced yin time, we can create more mindful action, asking if what we've been doing makes sense, fits our spirit, in our jobs, social activities, and relationships.
The Tao Te Ching tells us:
"The Tao person
Seeks inner wisdom,
Lets go of excess,
(Tao, chapter 12)
To live your truth, you can ask yourself these questions:
- What have I been missing? What activities and relationships do I really value?
- What do I not miss at all? –activities and relationships that were only habits.
You can cultivate the balance of yin and yang in your life by:
- Seeking out periods of silence each day, time to reflect on our lives
- Spending some time in the natural world.
And when contemplating any new commitment, you can ask yourself:
- Is it necessary?
- Is it healthy?
- Will it bring greater joy and peace to my life and my world?
If it doesn't fit these criteria, then why do it? Living the Tao means living mindfully and creatively.
The Tao teaches the wisdom of the seasons. You can emerge from this long Covid winter ready to make more mindful choices, to plant seeds for personal renewal in a springtime of new beginnings.
I wish you joy on the path.