"The Master maintains his balance
no matter which opposite he enters.
He lets things go through their changes
and stays focused on what is real.
He is like an ocean:
though there are waves on it's surface,
in it's depth there is perfect calm."
Often we can find ourselves wondering what it is we need to do to live in the effortless flow of the Tao. In Taoist practice, the answer to this question can be summed up in just two words: remain balanced. That's really all there is to it. You are probably familiar with the Yin/Yang symbol (pictured below), which represents the two sides of the One energy (called Qi), that creates and sustains everything in the Universe (including YOU). The old Masters tell us that, when these two sides of the One energy are balanced within us, we attain perfect harmony with the current of the Tao. However, when we go to any extreme in our lives, we quickly find ourselves losing this natural balance and soon become depleted of all vital energy, while losing our enthusiasm for life.
We all know what it feels like to lose our balance - that moment of exhaustion when we feel our joy for life slipping away as we needlessly worry about a future event or find ourselves regretting something that happened in the past. Perhaps we aren't getting enough sleep (or sleeping too much), working too many hours, eating to much junk food or not getting enough exercise. If we look closely, every area of our life has a balance point where we feel harmony within, and with the world around us. Conversely, there is also a tipping point where we lose this balance and begin to experience stress, anxiety and unease. In those moments, all that is required to bring ourselves back into harmony with the flow, is to first recognize that we are out of balance, and then spend some time doing the practices that bring us back into the Flow (meditation, qigong, yoga, healthy eating, taking a nap).
By being honest with ourselves and focusing on those areas of our lives that need our attention, we naturally return to a state of radiant health and abundant energy. In this way, the two sides of the One energy - the Yin and the Yang - come into harmony with each other once again, and life returns to it's default state of joy and ease. As we develop the wisdom of knowing when we are out of balance, we can immediately take the steps necessary to regain our footing once it has been lost. This is very good news! One of the most empowering gifts of practicing the Tao path of balance, is that we realize that our well-being is our own responsibility, and we naturally make choices that bring greater harmony and joy to our lives. Also, we see that, by avoiding the extremes in any situation, and living with inner-balance, we find ourselves right in the center of a powerful flow (the Tao), that is always unfolding our lives with the greatest of ease, and for our highest benefit.