Up and Down.
Left and Right.
Forward and Backward.
Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.
An everlasting swing between the two opposite patterns.
The basic principle that governs our lives.
Not only is the existence of two opposites important, but also the act of moving between them. We can experience a flow between Day and Night, Inbreath and Outbreath, Giving and Receiving, or Rise and Fall.
Have you ever wondered why you need some rest after a hard work?
Exactly. This is the principle of rhythm.
The principle of rhythm
You cannot go against it even if you try hard. Pushing too much towards one polarity will ultimately force you to go back to the other one, whether you want it or not.This time, however, perhaps under less favorable circumstances than you would like to experience.
For instance, you can work hard for months, or even years, juggling multiple projects and responsibilities, while skilfully balancing on the edge of depletion. But when you don’t regularly incorporate the necessary rest, it will be forced upon you. You will become ill.
Have you ever wondered why politicians, sportsmen, CEOs of the companies, singers or actors rise high up to only collapse soon after?
Indeed, for any great success, there is a great failure. If there is a rise, there is a fall. And oftentimes the rise you observe at the life of others follows the falls you haven’t. Simply because they were not brought to your attention.
The principle of rhythm governs the working of our universe. You cannot simply avoid that. And neglecting this principle or pretending it does not exist, is not going to help either. The swing is always at work.
The measure of the swing to the left is the measure of the swing to the right
Let us consider an imaginary pendulum. Since symmetry is a natural phenomenon, the pendulum swings between the two opposites in the same degree. So, the swing of a pendulum in one direction determines the swing in the opposite one. And this is metaphorically reflected on all levels of your life, including your mental states.
The higher your ambition, the bigger your challenges and failures.
The greater fear you have, the greater courage you can summon.
The more you give, the more you will receive.
The greater your experience of joy, the greater your capability of feeling sadness.
The more understanding you have, the better realization of how little it is.
And so on.
All the phenomena we observe and participate in are governed by cycles. We function in an amazingly orchestrated mechanisms of cycles. These include cycles nested over cycles, even at a deep level. Proper timing becomes essential for making all these cycles work.
For example, we have a cycle of birth, growth, adulthood, maturity, late maturity and death. And within this cycle we may consider a cycle of 7-year development stages, but other cycles are possible as well. Then we have yearly cycles of changing seasons as well as weekly and daily cycles. In addition, there are cycles of our personal and spiritual development, work-related development or about the roles we take into the society, not even mentioning similar cycles for our family members or friends.
All these moderate and high-level cycles rely on the basic rhythm. This is the everlasting swing of ups and downs, lefts and rights, or forwards and backwards. The potent swing between polarities. (Or in an analogy that suggests itself, it is the binary number and the freedom of choice between 0 and 1 that enables us to build more and more complex structures and complicated computer programs.)
Going with the rhythm
The existence of such a rhythm suggests that the best strategy is to become conscious of it and use it intelligently in your life. The key understanding here is the act of balancing between the two sides. No matter which direction you choose and how far you go, you know that you will need to turn back and swing towards the opposite.
Going with the rhythm is the phrase here. Think of the rhythm as of a strong current in the river (of life). The most effortless way to swim in this river is to be either pushed or carried by the current instead of fighting it. This leads you towards the practice of wise men – taking an optimized action with respect to the journey – by paying attention and carefully observing the rhythm.
So instead of being led by circumstances that will accommodate the pull in the opposite direction for you, you act consciously. You are prepared.
This means that in any direction you are currently going, you have already planned and prepared for the movement in the opposite one.
You basically optimize the tasks which coincide well with the benefits of the given polarity, but you still view them from a perspective of the complete system of polarities. By paying attention you will notice the moment in which the pendulum approaches the threshold so that you may begin adopting your actions and strategies accordingly.
For instance, you maximize your work schedules and collect successes when you have a strong wind behind your back, while you restore, energize and re-structure when the decline comes. For sure lean years will follow the fat ones.
You don’t push for success in the Down-movement or party extensively during the lean years, but you collect your learning points, reflect upon them and draw conclusions. Then you plan your strategies for the Up-movement or plant seeds for the fat years to come.
People who fall drastically simply don’t understand this principle. They are the ignorant ones who push far beyond the limits as if they could have risen forever. Or they are the ignorant ones who sit in the depression pit while contemplating the fall as if the circumstances could have gone adversary forever. Nothing further from the truth.
When the fall is on a horizon or lean years ahead, neither the drastic experience of the fall nor famine are necessary. You can perfectly accommodate for the fall and diminish its effects to minimum simply by being prepared (beforehand) and by taking care of what is needed to be done in such times.
Swing, swing, swing
Let the swing become a conscious act of balancing in your life.
Work when you feel passionate and energetic. Rest when you are tired.
Collect your successes when on rise. Restore and energize when the decline comes.
Make your key decisions when you feel positive and joyful. Avoid them when depressed or sad.
Give willingly and receive with gratitude.
Buy stuff and get rid of stuff.
Teach what you learn. Learn what you are going to teach.
Follow the rhythm.
Prepare. Pay attention. Optimize your acts.
You will master your life by mastering the swing from one opposite to the other.
Photo by Misko13, available under the Creative Commons license on Flickr.