The undulations of life can feel tumultuous. Just remember being subject to the hormones of adolescence- yikes! We’d like to think we have moved past this stage, but the potential for recycling life’s stages is perpetual.
The apex of the direct human study of life’s undulations is manifested in the I Ching that pre-dates recorded history (4000 BCE). Its concept is simple: Truth through a larger viewpoint brings clarity and stability, even in the face of intense transition. It is important to see the bigger picture because at our core we are eternal aspects of divinity. It is in that space we find peace. The present situation is just a blip on the radar at best, deceptive illusion at worst. It is by looking beyond that we find perspective. Truth really does set us free.
In the American landscape, the best example of this swing is the fad. Fad diets, gadgets and exercise routines remind us of the pitfalls of grasping in our inherent nature.
The Atkins Corporation was worth 700 million in 2004, 200 million in 2006 and was sold for 100 million in 2010. Our society (and economy) is obsessed with the next big thing. The American carbohydrate-rich and nutrient-poor diet, a major cause of heart disease, was a call to arms by Dr Robert Atkins to cleanse us of waste with his no-carb philosophy. The Atkins Diet became a household name. We, as a society, were spending incredible resources- 700 million dollars- for this information. As evidenced by the cascading Atkins bottom line, we soon realize that the closer we get to balance, the less we require in maintaining it. For those of us without specific sensitivities, decreasing bread and gluten intake while beefing up on whole foods allows us do away with mass food elimination and the costs associated. It is like a pendulum that gets swung in both directions and in time returns to the center.
Now let’s look at an individual example, one that shows the deep connection to health and symptomology when the Self requires a swing of the pendulum. I had a patient in San Diego that suffered from episodic, debilitating, explosive rashes that would cover her entire body. For three months we worked through layers of imbalance that calmed the rashes only to have them fire up again on occasion. Though difficult and frustrating, the groundwork was crucial in readying her for revelation.
One particular visit, as we talked about her frustration at work, something clicked into place. The whole room changed through her acceptance of truth causing the alignment of what I can only call her Self. Our heroine worked a physicist in a fusion lab and her fellow scientists, though adept at splitting and combining cells, were poor at connecting with people. The hostility and explosiveness in the work environment created frustration leading to tension and heat in her system like a pressure cooker, causing her to explode into a rash when it hit her threshold. This cycle was something she no longer needed in her life, the realization of which was the key we were looking for.
Her rashes improved significantly from that point just by connecting the dots and forming an awareness of the heavy cost associated with her work which fed her internal environment for 40-50 hours a week. As a matter of course, she moved to the Pacific Northwest and made a commitment to honor herself fully by becoming a dance and yoga instructor- her true joy. The seed was planted and harvested.
She wrote to tell me months later that once she honored her passion- her Self- and removed herself from that toxic environment, she never had an episode again. I can only imagine the precision of movements garnered from the attention to detail that she fostered as a physicist. She found her balance through exploring opposites, satiating her need to connect with logic/reason/science to reach beauty/simplicity/heart connection through her work. The symptoms surfaced only because she needed the push to move into her Self. She was unwilling to “take the leap” without the motivation of debilitating rashes that affected her comfort, appearance, functionality and, ultimately, sense of self.
When opposing forces are balanced, we return to our true Self. Tension creates needed change that, when appropriated, releases the requisite tension. Lao Tzu says it best:
Empty yourself of everything.
The mind becomes still
The ten thousand things rise and fall while the Self watches their return
They grow and flourish and then return to the source
Returning to the source is stillness, which is the way of nature.
- Tao Te Ching, Chapter 16
The Complete I Ching by Alfred Huang. 1998. Inner Traditions International.
Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu, translated by Gai-Fu Feng and Jane English. 1989. Vintage Books, Random House.