Reflections on Chapter 6 of the Tao Te Ching:
The Valley of the Spirit
is immortal and nourishing.
It is called the Mysterious Female,
our Creative Power.
This Creative Power is our passageway,
Revealing the Creation
of Heaven and Earth itself.
Like a babbling stream,
It flows endlessly through our lives -
Quietly supporting us always.
NOTE: I am calling this one the lost chapter because it got lost. I skipped it somehow, but it’s a good one.
Creative energy is underlying everything.
Everything is born out of a creative space, so it is the basis from which we come and it is the energy that flows throughout our existence. The other day I was early for a meeting. Normally, if I am early and no one is there, I will run around and take care of a few more things until it gets started but I decided to instead just sit in the quiet room and be still and wait. It was sunny outside so I looked at the trees and the people below rushing around. It was so nice to just be in that silence for a few minutes.
Anytime you want a minute, you have a minute. Instead of always running around filling little gaps of time, experiment with taking time to just sit and do nothing. These little gaps are available all throughout your day.
“I get my best ideas in the shower.” ~Albert Einstein
That quiet space is a yin space. Albert Einstein had many of his best insights in the shower. That quote has always stuck with me. Why is that so true for so many people? Probably because the shower is the one place where you are free to do not much of anything. No one is bugging you to talk to them about things, you can’t check your email, you can’t look at anything interesting. It is a yin space. It is a processing space. We get to this space when we are driving alone, doing the dishes and going for a walk too. It is that void space where you allow yourself the nothing.
You should allow yourself to do nothing sometimes.
My dear blogger friend, Suzanne McRae, wrote a beautiful heart-wrenching story about an ice storm her family went through in 1998. In her story, she talks about the deep silence that they all came to know when their electricity was out for an extended period of time. In their case, the silence occasionally brought sounds of trees cracking from the weight of the ice which may have not been so peaceful, but I can only imagine that a lot of the silence was kind of nice in a way. We often don’t even realize how noisy our lives have gotten until there is silence. That silence can frighten us sometimes when it brings us to face the demons in our minds like trees cracking and falling on our houses or the absence of someone we love if we are alone in the house unexpectedly.
But the silence also offers us a treasure.
The silence offers us our yin space. Just as Lao Tzu said in Chapter 2, “The music and the silence, one cannot exist without the other.” Our yang lives cannot exist without those yin spaces. We need them to function properly. We need rest. We need a break. We need alone time.
That yin silence is the undertone for everything.
If you’ve ever done oil painting, you start with a wash that sets the tone for the entire painting. The Tao is like that, it is like the tone that goes underneath everything. That creative space. When you are able to maintain balance in your life with that creative space, your life will take on new meaning and wonderful depth. You will have time to look at the stars and to look into your child’s eyes and see them again.
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