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Audio eLesson_2013-0325

In the last lesson we looked at the importance of valuing the whole cycle, the part that is comfortable and the part that is stressful. We looked at the breath, the rest/activity cycle, and stressful events like divorce, losing our jobs and death. Looking at and valuing both parts of a cycle helps us become aware and present for learning. In this lesson we’ll expand our awareness by looking at smaller cycles. What do we find when we look deeper into smaller parts of cycles?

“As above, so below” is an old Hermetic saying that can help us work with this concept. A fractal is an excellent representation of “as above, so below” because it is composed of self repeating patterns. When you find a pattern, look into the pattern and you find a similar pattern. When you look within that smaller pattern you find an even smaller, similar pattern. There are also examples in nature. Take a tree, for instance. Begin at the trunk. As we move up the trunk we find a branch, and as we move up the branch we find it has branches, and those branches have branches, etc. So, how small can we go, and what do we find at the smallest level?

Consider the breathing cycle. Perhaps a single breath is the smallest breathing cycle. Looking at a singular breath shows us that as the inhalation progresses it reaches a point where nothing else can happen except the exhalation. In other words, the potential for the exhalation increases as the inhalation progresses, until the potential is so great that the exhalation has to occur. One part of the cycle perpetuates the other part. Breathing is in a constant state of transformation; it cannot stay in any one part of the cycle. Looking at one breath allows us to look beyond the dual nature of cycles and see only transformation. So, at this smallest level of the breathing cycle we simply see transformation and a self perpetuating cycle.

We can also look at the rest/activity cycle for one day. We recover energy as we rest at night and apply energy as we’re active during the day. One day isn’t the smallest cycle, however. There are many smaller cycles of rest/activity within a given day. We apply energy when we go to work and then recover energy when we return home. Yet there are still more cycles within the workday. We apply energy by working but then we recover energy by having a coffee break. Then we return to work, we have a lunch break, return to work again, have an afternoon break, return to work again, and finally go home. Yet, we can also see smaller cycles within a lunch break, for instance. We apply energy to eat and then rest after we’ve eaten. At the smallest level we simply see transformation occurring, either transformation in the direction of increase, as we apply energy, or transformation in the direction of decrease, as we recover energy. It’s also self perpetuating. After we’ve rested to recover energy the potential to apply that energy is high. We feel an urge and need to become active. Then once we’ve applied energy the potential is high that we rest to recover energy. We become exhausted and feel the urge and need to rest.

What about the creation/destruction cycle? People are created at birth and destroyed at death. Yet, when we look deeper we see cycles of creation and destruction within our lives. We enter a creation period during childhood, but then childhood dies as our adolescence is created, which then dies as our adulthood is created. As we grow through childhood the potential for becoming an adolescent increases until it’s so high that becoming an adolescent is inevitable. The growth of one cycle sets the stage for its own destruction and the creation of the next one. People are also self repeating, just like a fractal. We are born, grow up, have children, and then, of course, our children go through that same process. As we grow, the potential to have children increases until it’s inevitable, and then we decline and die as our children continue the cycle.

We can even look at the cyclical nature of the Earth spinning, with one revolution being the smallest cycle. Standing on the Earth, as an observer within the cycle, we see only transformation. Day transforms into night which transforms back into day. As the day progresses the potential for night increases until night becomes inevitable. Likewise, as night progresses the potential for day increases until day becomes inevitable. Day is destroyed as night is created; night is destroyed as day is created. When looked at by the micro observer we don’t see creation or destruction, we simply see a gradual transformation throughout the day/night cycle.

So how does this expand our awareness? Our tendency is to see things as dual: good/bad, day/night, inhale/exhale, creation/destruction. Yet, when we look at a micro level we see only transformation and self perpetuating cycles. When something is created, something else is destroyed; when something is destroyed, something else is created. When we eat, for instance, are we creating nourishment or destroying that which is being eaten? When we build a table are we creating a table or destroying a tree? At the smallest level there is no creation or destruction, only transformation.

This is what change is: constant transformation that perpetuates itself. Our awareness expands by realizing we need to ride the wave of change. When we are in one part of the cycle, we know it will die as the potential for the next part of the cycle increases. Life simply pulsates between the extremes of a cycle as it transforms. This awareness allows us to flow with the challenges we have in our lives, to accept them and be present for them. With acceptance and presence the quality of our attention increases, allowing us to ride the wave of change with more grace.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. A lovely reflection, from the oneness comes the many. In the fullness of Yin arises the seed of Yang and in the fullness of Yang arises the seed of Yin. Wuji -> Taiji and so we go. No separation, just this. Thank you as always for sharing Arno.
    Travel well, Greg.

  2. Awesome Arno. I love it! Great reminder that we are always Inhaling and exhaling with the universe. The next moment is always born out of this one. Keep posting man! Love it.

  3. Beautifully put. I have also realized recently that accepting change gives me back energy, because I am not fighting anymore.

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