God isn’t removed from us, sitting on some throne up in heaven somewhere. The “universal creative life energy” is found within the created world, within life’s natural cycles.
From womb to tomb, our lives are fundamentally affected by the cycles and rhythm of life. The beat of our hearts and our breathing, without which nothing else would matter, are examples of our inseparable connection to life’s rhythm. The cycles at work in the world are easy to see. For instance, every day the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, marking the start and end of each new day, a cycle to be repeated far into the future. Like the sun’s movements, our cycle of rising in the morning and going to sleep each night demonstrates one of many similar cycles present in the working of the human body. The four seasons, the ocean tides, the cycle of life, death and rebirth are taking place everyplace you look.
Reflecting on these cycles is worthwhile for anyone who would like to live more peacefully. Being aware of life’s rhythm makes it possible for you to enter into the dance of life in a more deliberate way. It enables you to have a more patient attitude toward life, with yourself, and with others. When you learn to appreciate the natural rhythm and cycles of life, the sense of urgency that can have such a tyrannical effect on your mind begins to slowly diminish. Awareness of life’s rhythmic cycles and conscious movement with them, promotes peace, harmony, and healing. Our essential oneness connects us with the entire universe, and with God.
An interesting way of understanding how cycles can affect our lives is found in the ancient Chinese theory of how things work called Yin-Yang. Many have found this theory to have invaluable meaning and true wisdom. The symbol that represents this way of understanding is:
The outer circle of the symbol represents “everything,” while the black and white shapes within the circle represent the interaction of two energies present in our lives, called “yin” (black) and “yang” (white), which cause everything to happen. They are not completely black or white, just as things in life are not completely black or white, and they cannot exist without each other. “Yin” represents the movement of energy in our lives that is dark, passive, downward, cold, contracting, and weak. “Yang” represents energy that is bright, active, upward, hot, expanding, and strong.
The shapes of the yin and yang sections of the symbol give you a sense of the continuous movement of these two energies, yin to yang and yang to yin. This representation demonstrates the understanding of cycles in our lives. In the yin-yang theory, the cycle demonstrates the relationship of positive and negative energy flowing within our lives. Our moods, our outlook on life and how life happens, seem to relate to this yin-yang movement from the dark to the light.
Rhythm heals. Why does music make us feel better? It is because rhythm is so basic to the human body and mind. Getting lost in our desires and worries has a way of fragmenting our psyche, causing us to be out of out of balance and out of harmony with the rest of life. We become lost in our minds and imaginations. Music, whether it is classical music, popular music, or the rhythm of an African or Indian drumbeat, can help bring us back in sync. It has a way of de-fragmenting our minds that inwardly heals us.
The purpose of reflecting on, or paying more attention to, the hidden cycles and rhythms in life is that you might gradually learn to struggle less against their movement and begin to move more gracefully with them. It is important to realize that life’s cycles and rhythms are the way God chooses to work in the world as well as in our personal lives. Remember, God isn’t removed from you, sitting on some throne up in heaven somewhere. The “universal creative life energy” is found within the created world and its natural cycles. God comes to you and me through the very essence of our lives. This is true from the farthest reaches of the universe to your own heartbeat and your next breath.
Connecting Point: Becoming familiar with life’s natural rhythmic cycles helps us to relax and move more easily within the flow of life. It can help us grow in the awareness of God’s mystical presence in our daily lives or, the contemplative life.
Prayer: God of spring, summer, fall, and winter, help me to see your presence in the many seasons and cycles of my life. In the lapping of the waves on the shore, in the wonderful rhythm of my favorite song, and in the beat of my own heart, help me to recognize your creative love in the natural rhythm of my life. Amen.