When the world knows beauty as beauty, ugliness arises
When it knows good as good, evil arises
Thus being and non-being produce each other
Difficult and easy bring about each other
Long and short reveal each other
High and low support each other
Music and voice harmonize each other
Front and back follow each other ~ Lao Tzu
This is an old lesson that I seem to have some trouble digesting. Instinctively, I remove myself from the issues and problems of the world so that I can maintain my positive thoughts and tranquil emotions, which I have cultivated through the hard work of staying mindful in the present and meditation. Sadly, this also isolates me and turns me into an unwitting hermit.
I sometimes feel like the proverbial recluse living in a cave and sustained by a bowl of rice a day and the air I breathe. Of course, I eat far better than that, and my breathing is augmented by scented air fresheners and such, but you get the idea. There is only so much growth I can go through by myself, and alone with my thoughts. Eventually, I have to go out and interact with the world at large–get exposed to the darker edges, inoculate myself with the lesser germs so that my inner self will be strengthened with the effort of resisting them. After all, how can I fight the stronger evils if I can’t even face the lesser ones?
I’m not doing anything avant garde here. Even Jesus had to expose himself to the devil to prove that he could maintain his pure goodness, surrounded by evil from all sides. I too, must face my challenges and adversities to gauge how strong my inner strength is, and where I need to improve. I should not shy away from experiencing it. These are opportunistic times to further my growth.
Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light. ~ Brené Brown.