I’ve been fortunate so far in this life to be able to “weather the storms” which often bring havoc to our lives. Sometimes, I feel like I need to be the rock which stands steadfast in the storm, clinging to my mission. Sometimes, I feel like the best course of action is to let go and let the natural forces of nature guide me to a better place.
As I reflect back, I wonder about this sense of inner power which has helped guide me through these ever-occurring changes. It seems to simply emanate from an understanding and appreciation of opposing life-forces, then practicing ways to find steadiness and equanimity as these forces shift.
From a Tao perspective, one might say that our spirit is guided by opposing forces. On the Yin side, we accept that our life is an animation of our organic matter and our natural instincts. On the Yang side, we shape our character through our life choices and our expression of ego.
We are consumed by a culture that focuses on the Yang: comparing our situation to others, then making choices, often ego-based, to create the situation we desire in life. Our actions are usually self-directed, fighting external forces with personal strength, determination and ambition. It’s often a “win-or-go-home” attitude; be successful (in comparison to others) in order to survive. We participate in competitive sports, we strive to get higher grades, we compete to have better jobs or make more money or be socially accepted, in order to build character and a sense of self as expressed in comparison to others.
We often see success from this perspective… from an externally-based sense of power and strength.
But in the long-run, I wonder if real power, inner power, comes from more of a balanced perspective between Yang and Yin, action and non-action, pushing forward and letting go, outward action and inward acceptance.
Perhaps this is why more and more people are finding comfort in restorative Yin yoga, meditation, and other relaxing mindfulness-based practices. Perhaps that is why more and more people are choosing community-based service as a means to find personal happiness and satisfaction. Perhaps this is why more and more young people are choosing cooperative relationship-based lifestyles over highly competitive work environments. Perhaps this is why we are paying more and more attention to the ways of our natural environment and the survival of our earth and our climate.
Instinctively, we know deep inside we are living in an unsustainable “red zone” of stress and externally-based achievement. We know deep inside that our health and happiness depends on feelings of connectedness with others, with nature, and with everything around us.
Perhaps the pendulum is swinging back towards our Yin nature and an enhanced understanding and acceptance of our instinctual nature as we find balance again. Perhaps with this balance we will feel a more powerful sense of flowing-with-life.
For me at least, it seems that developing an understanding of these opposing forces helps me maintain a sense of calm in the storm, a sense of purpose within the chaos, and an inner sense of power that is unending. And it seems that as I understand more and more about my body through yoga, personal exploration and interpersonal relationships, and time in nature, I know that many of the answers in life are inside of me, and within my power to let (or make) happen.
I guess it is my Yin nature that helps me realize that inner power comes from a deep feelings of connection with the Universe, and feelings of unconditional love and respect for everything which lies both within me and outside of me.
And if I operate from this place, perhaps, I will better utilize my Yang capabilities to effectively impact this world in more positive, sustainable, and powerful ways.