The symbol of the Tao Te Ching, the text of ancient enlightenment written by the Avatar Lao Tzu, is the Yin Yang – a brilliant icon that shows graphically exactly how apparently opposing forces can also be seen as complementary forces.
Embedded within the Yin, the dark side of the circle (or the shadow side) is a small white dot of Yang energy indicating that there is always a tiny element of light present in all darkness. Imbedded within the Yang, the light side of the circle (or the sunny side) is a small black dot of Yin energy, indicating that there is always a tiny element of darkness in every moment of light. Together the Yin and the Yang make a perfectly balanced circle, depicting the process of eternal life – an ever-changing, ever-shifting force that moves forever back and forth from light to dark and dark to light, mimicking the physical reality of day and night.
In order to get the greatest joy out of our life experience here on planet earth, when we are experiencing our lighter moments, it is incumbent upon us to enjoy them and appreciate them to the fullest, even though we instinctively know there will eventually be a shift of energy that will take us back into the realm of darkness. If that shift of energy becomes a “conscious shift”, even better. Then we will not only move gently through the darker moments of our life experience with ease, but we will learn a great deal from them.
But how might we develop a conscious habit of seeking to discover, for example, the Yang energy within the Yin cycle, the light in the darkness? One way is to observe ourown past experiences of simple enlightenment as well as the experiences of others.
Corrie Ten Boom became well known after the end of the Second World War when she began to write and teach about her experiences as a refugee in the infamous Ravensbruck prison in Germany. Corrie was released in 1945; just days after her sister Betsie died there. Corrie became a missionary of sorts, spreading the word of how God had protected her during her imprisonment – sometimes in some very unusual ways.
The women prisoners of war in Ravensbruck were housed in cabins – cold and hard and very dirty – and in the case of Corrie and Betsie’s cabin, heavily infested with fleas.
To keep their mind off the horrendous conditions they were forced to live in, each night after dark, Corrie would bring out a tiny Bible she had secreted away and read by candlelight to the other women in the cabin. The Bible brought great comfort to most of them as they subconsciously reached for the Yang in their Yin, the light in their darkness, by immersing themselves in the word of God.
But to Corrie’s sister, Betsie, the Bible reading also engendered great fear. They heard reports, day after day, of the midnight raids that sex-hungry soldiers made on the cabins of other women in the camp. Betsie believed that if those men came to their cabin, they would not only be raped but killed if the Bible was discovered. Corrie was however tenacious about her Bible readings and blessedly, the soldiers never visited their cabin.
For years Corrie blessed her Bible, giving thanks for the protection she believed it gave them. But some years later, when she was reading the memoirs of one of the Nazi leaders, she learned that the men who raided and raped in the camp said they always avoided going to one cabin specifically – the one that was infested with fleas.
Thank you God for fleas.
Unbeknownst to Corrie and Betsie and the other women in the cabin, the fleas were the Yang in their Yin. Those tiny, annoying creatures combined to create a mighty force that kept the brutal soldiers away from them.
“Thank you God, for fleas,” Corrie prayed. Enlightenment often reveals itself in retrospect.
But sometimes we can actually recognize that Divine guidance while we are still in darkness, because it appears in the form of a single thought that shifts our mood in a nanosecond from despair to hope.
We call them blinding flashes of the obvious, (BFOs). They appear when we’re deeply puzzled about something and then suddenly, an obvious solution comes into our mind. An inventor struggling to make her idea manifest as physical reality suddenly finds a solution when the picture of a perfect working model pops into her mind. A song writer searches for the perfect musical phrase or lyric and finds himself humming it. A mathematician shifts the components of an equation dozens of different ways and suddenly arrives at the order that creates the solution. An artist “accidentally” paints the perfect shaft of light that shifts the whole picture into total perspective.
Can you purposely create a “blinding flash of the obvious”? Can you make a conscious shift that will always illuminate the Yang in your Yin? Perhaps you can, but for most people if you can’t create it, you can achieve the same result by simply allowing it to happen.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not into your own understanding. Acknowledge Him in all your ways and He will direct your path. Proverbs 3: 5 and 6
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