The Dance Between Passivity and Action

In the background, and often the foreground, there’s a dance that’s playing out. And it’s the dance between passivity and action.

Sometimes it feels more like a title fight than a dance, but it’s bigger than us, so we let it ride. Or that’s what we attempt to do, though it doesn’t always work out.

One the one hand, we know that all is already perfect and whole, and on the other hand, we are always evolving, developing. Like the Buddhist idea of Always Being, Always Becoming. How do we know when to just Be, and when to Do?

If you’re quiet inside, you can feel a leaning toward one and away from the other. A feeling of division and contraction one way, and a feeling of expansion or unity in the other.

If it’s too “loud” outside to be quiet on the inside, you can always do nothing. If “something” keeps coming back and gnawing away at “nothing” then you can take a few steps forward in the direction of that “something” and check in again. Then, see if you can get quiet on the inside and sense the leaning toward or away.

And just keep after this checking in.

I saw a Red Eft Salamander in New York about a month ago, it was crawling along the leaf litter on the forest floor. I ended up watching it for some time. After being still for several minutes, it continued on the course it was on before I arrived. The walking pattern of this specific newt was a lesson in what we’re talking about here. Step-step-step-step, then a look to the right and a look to the left. Then a step-step-step-step, and look to the right and a look to the left. The newt was taking his time, both in walking and looking. It seemed like a pretty good indicator of the way we could move.

Not just finding the bearing or direction and heading out, paying no more attention until we should be close to our destination (like the way I often use a GPS on a trip I’ve taken before), but checking in regularly as a matter of pattern. Are we still heading in right direction? Is that direction still the one we’re supposed to be traveling? You know, the expression of Truth has no obligation to stay pointed in any one direction.

If we have some diligence on the checking in, we can sense when the tide turns, when it feels most natural for us to be being vs doing or passive vs active. It will also help keep us on track because we’ll won’t go 500 miles in the wrong direction before we realize we’re no longer on the trail.