As the shortest day of the year approaches, the yearly cycle of Yin and Yang moves into the phase of maximum Yin. This is the ultimate time to embrace stillness.
Yang is warmth, energy, light, dryness, day, summer, activity and movement. Yin is coolness, substance, darkness, moisture, night, winter, passivity and stillness. Yin and Yang are constantly changing from one to the other. Yin grows from Yang and Yang grows from Yin. Just as we can still have daylight (Yang) in the middle of winter (Yin), so everything is both Yin and Yang – it’s all about the balance.
Western culture values Yang to the detriment of Yin. We expect our minds and our lives to be incessantly busy. We value economic growth and cannot cope with decline. We obsess over youth and devalue maturity. We create artificial daylight in our workplaces and homes so we can continue being busy into the night. We charge our bodies and minds with refined stimulants such as sugar, caffeine and alcohol. We eat at our desks or on the run or, even worse, skip meals altogether. In order to relax, we then have to numb the mind with television or alcohol or continue the frenetic pace with excessive socialising, extreme exercise or overwork. Modern life is making us sick!
Try to spend a little time in stillness, and make a habit of it. Understandably, most of us have forgotten how. You could take a bath, listen to music by candlelight or go for a walk in nature. It is often in these moments, when the noise of the world becomes a little quieter, that our capacity for insight and inspiration is given a chance to shine through.
Stillness contains the seeds of your contentment, peace of mind and life satisfaction.
By spending time in stillness, the choppy waves of the mind are given permission to settle. Without constantly Doing, we can enjoy the fullness of each moment by just Being.
“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under the trees, listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.” – Sir John Lubbock