One of my earliest teachers gave an analogy of a giant waterfall cascading downward towards the earth; and in that stream, small droplets separated like raindrops and then rejoined the stream further down the mountain. We tend to focus and create our reality as separate, like the raindrops, which causes us to lose sight of the whole flow. I’ve never forgotten this analogy. The first Taoist Master I studied with placed another layer of understanding and said that these changes have rhythms, synchronicity and resonance. In other words, the entire universe, from the infinitely small to the infinitely large operates within interconnected patterns and rhythms that are formed by its own resonance. He then said that “to live your life without understanding the natural cycles was to live as if you were blind.”
How can we apply this understanding? There are many things we can do to change our lifestyle patterns to gradually transform our energy. When you deeply relax your mind and body, it opens your heart and mind to feeling the life force everywhere. Observe the cycles of the days, months, years, etc. Observe your own energy within these cycles. For example, when does most of your activity occur; is it during the early morning hours or are you more of a night owl? Do you stimulate you mind by reading or some other activity just before bed, or do you quietly dissolve the day’s tensions to allow you body to regenerate during this yin cycle. We need to be mindful of the fact that the same cycle occurs within as without. Our mindfulness determines the quality and quantity of our personal Qi.
We are presently in the yin (autumn-winter) cycle of the year when energy sinks deeply into the earth to germinate seeds, nourish roots and store energy. This is especially visible up north when the trees lose their leaves and much of the vegetation dies into the ground. This is the time when the mysterious and unknowable energies of life descend to rejuvenate and eventually rebirth itself from stillness to movement and generation. To align with the universal energy this time of year, you need to gather, nourish and store energy into the kidneys. The kidneys, which store essence, are the root of the physical body, according to Chinese medicine.
This Saturday, December 21st. Is the Winter Solstice. This is the time when Yin energy is strongest. From this point on, yin energy starts to become weaker and Yang energy starts to strengthen. This is the longest night and shortest day of the year. You can create activities or personal rituals that bring meaning to your life, such as quiet sitting or meditation, taking a walk on the beach or visiting any natural place like a park. We like to light candles to welcome the returning light. Pay attention to your breathing and let breath, mind and body merge into calmness and stillness. Whatever works for you to make you feel as comfortable as a baby being nurtured within the mothers womb will enhance the natural energy that is occurring.
This may be a good time to clarify your path, learn to let go of unnecessary activities and simplify your life. As the wise sage Lao Tzu said “Less is More”. Embrace wholeness.