Our Western minds too often see conflict as a choice between two opposites—either/or: all or nothing, win or lose. This happens especially when we're stressed. But the Tao Te Ching draws upon the wisdom of nature, describing life as a dynamic balance of both yin AND yang, day and night, mountain and valley, BOTH/AND, not either/or.
The Tao tells us:
"All life embodies yin
And embraces yang.
Through their union
(Tao, Chapter 42)
The holistic wisdom of Tao offers a range of possibilities instead of reducing all our choices to the false dilemma of either one extreme or the other—your way or my way, win or lose, all or nothing. .
By expanding our perspective, the Tao liberates us from either/or thinking. We see the larger patterns in nature. Recognizing how mountains and valleys are part of the landscape, we can respond to conflicts more creatively. Seeing how yin and yang are part of the larger whole, we can combine apparent opposites into a new vision of possibility.
Have you been stuck in a false dilemma, feeling like you have to choose between one extreme and the other in your personal or professional life? While stress limits our thinking, the Tao expands it. To experience this, you can join me now in a brief meditation.
- Close your eyes, and take a long, slow breath, slowly releasing it. Breathing in and breathing out.
- Feel your body and mind gradually relax as you continue to take each mindful breath. Breathing in and breathing out.
- Now ask yourself what you need from this situation.
- Not what you expect, demand, or fear but go deeper.
- What do you really need?
- As you continue to breathe slowly and deeply, think of a larger whole, a both/and pattern that includes your need as well as the other person or situation.
- Continue to breathe slowly and deeply as you embrace your need and trust that it will be met.
- You will receive a new insight on how to do this either now or later as you go about your daily activities.
- Now gently open your eyes, and feel a deeper sense of peace within and around you.
I wish you joy on the path.