Shaking the Tree

Shaking the Tree

Judging by the political campaign of 2004, you would think that fear had just recently arrived in our country. Some point to September 11, 2001 as its awakening. The ongoing war in Iraq weighs on us in philosophical and emotional ways; and for others, with friends and relatives directly involved, in very tangible ways. A listing of traumatic forces at play these days would seem endless. What does Chinese philosophy offer to help handle fear? Courage, dear ones, actually, quite a bit.

A false sense of control is often at the root of fear.  Concern over how things might turn out if we were to loosen our grip on the steering wheel is a cultural norm.  This appears to be true in spiritual matters as well where lately control seems to take precedence over love.  

Fear implies that we are too weak to be okay with what the world has in store for us.  We know that good results don't necessarily follow from the well-thought-out strategy or long-range business plan.  Often the best effects spring out of allowing things to develop.  If we are nourished properly, in the Oriental medical sense, we will have less need to strategize and control. And, at least in theory, our lives and all the outcomes associated with our lives would be better, not worse.

We are constantly riding the line between initiating and receiving, controlling and flowing with the tide.  The Oriental medical perspective is that we get sick and overly stressed when we stray too far in either direction. It is our premise that, in general, we tend to over control.  During the winter holiday season, as you reflect, see if there is room to add a heavy dose of compassion for yourself and others. No one has a monopoly on weakness or stress. 

We have talked before of the importance of Root. Just like with a tree, if the roots are shaky, the entire system will suffer. The image of a stress disorder is something like “ . . . if the roots of the tree are weak, then the leaves and branches are more likely to sway dangerously and shake in the wind."  Lack of nourishment leads to vacuous Blood. It’s the fuel in the tank if you will. As a result of moving ahead into the unknown and taking that ever-present leap of faith, we might recoil in the fear of not succeeding. We are hiding and cowering in the darkness both literally and figuratively. Somehow knowing that about another person and maintaining our own nourishment allows us to give in a more compassionate way to all creatures on our orbiting globe.

Overcoming fear in our lives may not be so much about confronting it in a forceful way.  Strong Root will allow us to participate with the inevitable changes that are out of our control and constantly offered up by our outside environment.  This strength that often comes from adversity can also be useful in approaching those things that we need to change to further positive and lasting growth.

With compassion for all and gratitude to our troops, we wish you: Peace on Earth.

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