Being Open

Midweek Devotion #3

July 22, 2015

Probably the most important thing I have learned from Taoist thought is the idea of yin, or the receptive.

In the I Ching, yin energy is parallel to that of the earth, receiving and absorbing light from the sun. The sun is outwardly directed energy, or yang.

When we are in yin, we become open and non-judgmental, we are like empty vessels. We are ready to receive messages intuitively, from nature, from ourselves, or from God. Our positive actions and intentions flow from that emptiness. In Taoism this is compared to a bellows, blowing air into a forge.

We live in a culture of doing, of activity, of action. We like to define goals and then set up a series of tasks to get us there. This is good but it only tells half the story, the yang half. Like living with only half a body, we tend to dwell only in the yang. We can push too hard at things, drive our energy so far that we have no sense of simply being.

Constantly pushing at goals, constantly striving for more, causes us to focus on a narrow band of reality. Paradoxically, we also gradually lose our ability to push. We become weakened, ineffective, and less sharp. But when we allow ourselves space to recover the yin, we find that yang is also strengthened.

With too much focus on yang, being like the sun, only the things that matter to our own power and our own goals become important. This is the way we lose our deepest sense of self. This is the way we lose our compassion for others. This is the way we lose our humanity.

Take a GoodMinute:

When was the last time I went on retreat?

When was the last time I felt myself simply allowed to be?

What associations do I have to words like non-action and non-belief?

How would a Taoist describe me?


A Dale Chihuly Glass sculpture. Its open-mouthed clam shell shapes remind me of being open and receptive to the energies of nature


2 thoughts on “Being Open

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