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  • Leslie Deems


Inner strength is the master

of all frivolities.

Tranquility is the master

of all agitated emotions.

Those who succumb to frivolities

have lost their inner strength.

Those who succumb to agitated emotions

have lost their tranquility

The wise cultivate

inner strength and tranquility.

That is why they are not seduced

by addictive temptations.

-verse 26 of the Tao Te Ching "Seductions"

I have observed that the more likes and dislikes that people have, the more suffering they experience, or the less tranquil they feel. We do live in a world of duality, yin and yang is manifest in all that we encounter. But let us remind ourselves that there is always a bit of yin in the yang and the presence of yang within the yin, like we see in the Taiji, you know...the black and white symbol that we all see so often. It is a reminder not to be too frustrated when things aren't going your way, there is a bit of grace that exits. And don't be too happy when things are wonderful, because therein lies challenge. The Taiji is always moving, constantly changing. After all, the reversal is the movement of the Tao. And what if it wasn't this way? Wouldn't our lives become a bit mundane and boring? OK, I know some of you are thinking...I could use some boring right now. The wisdom lies in knowing that when you are on the bottom you most definitely will rise to the top and when you are on top you most certainly will experience downfall. Life is not a continued upward climb, it's an ebb and flow. The key, cultivate acceptance. If we acknowledge that all we have is this moment, it is easier to accept what is right in front of us. You can observe the madness, the chaos, and the pain, acknowledge your feeling in the moment, and then accept it. Do not "succumb to 'your' agitated emotions." With acceptance comes letting go, and with letting go arrives peace. Most of us can not just skip straight to the letting go part. It is the practice of acceptance that we must cultivate first, then the letting go just comes naturally. What remains is a state of tranquility. "We are reminded here that if we can embrace our inner strength and tranquility when they are threatened by out of control addictions and emotions, we will stay the course toward Great Integrity, and be grateful for having done so."

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