Ebb and Flow

It’s interesting to see the way the world ebbs and flows with time. Different cultures have their own ways of representing this phenomenon, but the idea of a sort of circular pattern, a breathing in and out, a pulse, even, is quite universal. Right now we are seeing an ebb on many fronts. Economically, things are receding (hence the term recession). Environmentally, the quality of our world is changing in frightening ways.

Any student of history, though, realizes that this is part of a greater cycle. What is important to study is the duration of these cycles, and what affects it. It is also important to acknowledge that, while the ebb phase of the cycle can be painful, it is inextricably bound up with the flow. They are, essentially, one process. We must accept the bad times as readily as the good times, because each is part and parcel of the other.

Eastern philosophy explains this with its concept of yin and yang, which unfortunately are viewed by most people to represent good and evil — in reality, it is more accurate to depict them as heads and tails on the same coin. They work with each other, not against each other. Like the wind-up and swing of a baseball bat, they are separate parts of the same action.

It is difficult to keep this perspective at the forefront of our minds as people lose jobs, homes, and retirement funds. Sadly, even holding onto the proper perspective does not shield us from the effects of what is a particularly drastic ebb. But we must have faith in the process.

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