The Tiger and The Butterfly
Balance is a tricky thing. Keeping your balance in life seems like a great idea, yet the reality of balance is that it is a moving target. What is balance today might not be balance tomorrow. In fact, what is balance changes moment to moment. You might think that keeping your balance is a matter of finding out what you need and then doing that same thing day after day. One day, though, you might wake up and find out that things have changed and what you did yesterday is not working today. Now you will need to tread lightly, with care, to discover what kind of action will restore balance.
Yesterday, I discovered this delicate being balancing ever so gently but ever so tenaciously to a leaf in the stream. Fluttering in the current and yet remaining almost stationary on the top of the water doing I don’t know what. S/he inspired me greatly with both her/his beauty and with her determination to stay balanced just so in a moving flow of water. Hexagram 10 - Lü – Treading, is not actually about treading water, but this image still brings this hexagram’s meaning to my mind.
Hexagram 10- Lü is about a situation where the balance of power is critical and delicate. And it is about how you might restore balance through a very certain kind of approach. The image is of a person potentially treading on a tiger’s tail. The Tiger in Chinese culture is an animal associated with great power, great energy and treading on the tiger’s tail is the idea of working with great power.
The moment, however, is delicate; you are feeling your own power matched with the power of the world or another being and you are feeling the inherent risk of action at a time of when such energy is present. Risk coupled with intuition, with knowing can be a vulnerable feeling, a true moment of needing to maintain some kind of balance. Can you hold your own feeling and your own knowing in the presence of risk, power and adventure?
The situation where you need to tread lightly, heeding the power within and the power without, is not unusual. A place where this situation develops frequently is in the doctor’s office. Here, in the doctor’s office, you cannot miss the aura of power, the power of modern medicine. Yet, it is also here, in the place of that kind of power, where your own power is critical. Here in the room with a doctor of any sort, someone with lots of power from some point of view, it is critical that you bring your own power, the power of your own knowing, the power grown from your own investigation of your body and your life. And it is a situation where you would most like to keep your balance, keep your place so that you can gain access to whatever is necessary to move you forward in your life.
The power of your own knowing comes directly from the power of choice, from being aware of your choices. And balance, this kind of dialogue between inner and outer power, comes from willingness to receive and exchange both information and experience. You have to offer yourself, your symptoms and experience of your body in the case of the doctor’s office, and you have to be willing to receive whatever information or examination the doctor is offering.
The time of growth in the world or growth and change in the body can be both profuse and inspiring, and it might cause you to feel vulnerable. You might feel vulnerable even weak, and yet you might also feel a kind of power and inspiration that arises from the direct encounter with body truth. This is, then, a moment to take risks, to experiment and test the reins of your own power. To do this with any efficacy, that is, without losing your balance, though, two things are required; fearlessness and gentleness.
Your gentleness has to come from being willing to see why you might be afraid, from being willing to acknowledge exactly what you are dealing with, whether it be emotional, mental or physical. By acknowledging the source of power, the elements that are in play for you, you gain a “tread”, a foothold on the journey and you become fearless. Fearlessness here is not an absence of fear, but rather your own presence, your own willingness to BE in the situation, to feel your fear and yet continue to tread lightly. Afraid you might be, but, in fact, you are here, you are aware. You are choosing to engage this delicate situation.
Your fearlessness, coupled with your gentleness, creates that delicate balance of power that allows you to “fly”, to “leap”, to “pounce” or even to walk on water if need be. By knowing the moment, both its power and risk, its delicacy and its potential, something you can only know by being fully immersed, fully with the moment itself, you become powerful like the tiger and delicate like the butterfly. Keeping the wings of fearlessness and gentleness, your risk will be right, not too much and not too little, but enough to keep you going, treading the tiger’s tail, agile, delicate but strong in the flow of life.