Letting Go III: A Grounder Up The Middle - The Yin Of It, The Yang Of It

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Did I say miracles? Well, Dostoeveski did, and that quote has stuck with me since I first read it in my early twenties. I'm not prone to religious dogma, but I've experienced a few strange things (some of which I may reveal over time) and can at least attest to the word miracle with a small m.....I'll leave MIRACLE to the priests in black who are trying mightily to create faith with capitol letters. Here I have a story to tell of a miracle on a children's playing field, one so small you may argue over my use of the word, but significant nonetheless. But first, I diverge...The other day I heard a discussion which was eerily relevant to my musings on letting go, and which sent me down a different path in my thinking (this is almost always a good thing; I rarely know where I'm going anyway and if I do think I know where I'm going it's usually the wrong destination). A Buddhist scholar was describing the Taoist notion of Yin and Yang, the male and female principles inherent in the world and indicative of the duality of existence. He was speaking of how one acts in the world, how one finds balance within the duality, and he described what he called the Yang will and the Yin will. Yang is the creative, and the Yang will was the will to act upon the world to achieve an end. He spoke of an out of balance Yang will as one that bulldozes over things regardless of the consequences, as an invading army or an abusive spouse. Yin will, as the receptive opposite to the creative Yang, expresses an attitude of letting the universe do its thing, go with the flow, or letting go of control. An out of balance Yin will is pliant, passive, unengaged - a defeated country, an abused, helpless spouse. As soon as I heard the phrase "letting go" my ears perked up, and that's when the new path opened up for my exploration."But, but, but..." I thought to myself "isn't letting go a kind of release of will? How can one have a Yin will, a receptive will?" The word "paradox" suddenly loomed large, and I began fidgeting in my chair. I thought back to St. Francis, and the phrase "dying to self".....letting go of self, of ego...then it hit me! It's an act of will to let go of your ego, a conscious decision, a kind of directed energy. And to let go in a performance is no less an act of will, a willful giving in to the play, a willful letting it take you over, having its way...Which brings me back to the miracle on a children's playing field....To be continued......