The Taoist way is akin to getting on a fairground ride and giving yourself over to the ride fully, because there’s nothing else you can do – and trusting you’ll get off at the other end safe and sound. When you get on the ride, you’re doing it for the thrill, enjoyment and mystery of it. That’s your intention: to be thrilled and filled with joy through surrendering to the mystery. While you’re on the ride, you’re free to either tense up and resist it and wish you were on a different ride or on no ride at all and thus not enjoy the ride very much, or to let go into it and allow yourself to be thrilled and filled with joy. Certainly, the extent to which you choose the latter option, will determine how much thrill and joy you experience. In other words the more you relax, the more value you gain from your ride through life.
At times when the ride grows particularly fierce and it seems as if it might fly off the rails altogether, it requires extra vigilance in remembering this is merely a theatrical device used by the fairground operator (the Tao Of You) to make it all the more thrilling for you, for only through intensity of experience is true value gained.
However, even remembering this, fear is inevitable. The trick is to enjoy the fear as well and not to fight or resist it, yet nor must you use it as a reason to jump off the ride or close down to it in any way.
The key to all this is remembering to keep breathing, without holding your breath (inhibiting the exhalation by tensing your diaphragm), so that the breath flows freely, smoothly, evenly and fluidly in and out at all times, as this stops panic accruing and enables the mind to remain fairly steady, no matter how jumpy or jagged the any particular phase of the ride.
This is poignantly growing progressively more pertinent for all of us now, as the world of the ‘ten thousand things’ increasingly feels as if it is bursting at the seams: keep breathing and all will be well.
Training your thoughts to flow in an affirmative direction at all times is also fairly crucial to attaining and maintaining inner and, by extension, outer equilibrium.
Meanwhile, enjoy the ride.
Love, Steph (the Doc)