The Heart of Yin
On my entrepreneurial journey, I knew there was a time I had to take a step back from forcing and exerting my energy to get things done. Perhaps you’re at that time right now, or perhaps you’re still pushing and going hard.
Just like a car needs to be filled with gas, we have to fill up our physical self, our mental self, our emotional self, our spiritual self. When we use our energy up, our whole system needs a time to rejuvenate, to get our gas tank back to full. The way we do this is by tapping into the heart of Yin.
The Yin and Yang in the Chinese philosophy is a circle, with two drops flowing in a wave together. It looks like the Yin is chasing the Yang, and the Yang is chasing the Yin. But what’s interesting is at the centre of each is the other. No matter how Yang you are, focusing on strong, forwarding force – the heart of all action is Yin; the soft, receptive energy that balances it all. It is the source of, if you will, transcendent power.
How exactly do we tap into the gifts at the heart of Yin? Especially with all the demands on our time, demands on our choice making, demands on our thinking organism and mechanism of action?
The first thing that I had to do for myself on my entrepreneurial journey was literally designate one hour a day to access the Yin in my being. That was my first step to win back this tranquility, which I wished to have deeper in my life.
I remember I was in my twenties when my mentor said, “You must carve out an hour to do Sadhana.” I asked, “What does Sadhana mean?”
I learned that Sadhana means spiritual practice, the practice of elevating your consciousness through meditation, through self-inquiry, through removing yourself from all the demands of the world.
To that I said, “One hour? Geez, I can barely sit for ten minutes before I’ve got to do something. I’m antsy, I’ve got a lot of force, a lot of energy inside myself.”
“An hour,” was his reply. All these schemes of 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 20 minutes, to build yourself up to an hour – those are remedial, they’re really excuses. “Because if you’re actually committed,” he said, “You got to start it at an hour.”
I said, “Okay, I’m going to make the commitment, to carve out one hour a day for my Sadhana.” I asked him, “What does that mean now? How do I dive into my Sadhana?” It was a very esoteric term for me; I needed something concrete.
My mentor said, “What is the thing that brings your heart the most joy and freedom?”
For me, it was reading. Reading was such a way to fill my tank at that time.
He said, “Dedicate yourself to reading only the most nurturing and nourishing of books. And only the ones that are not directly related to any mission or vision or outcome that you want. Only ones that are there for the pleasure of your own being, of your soul, of your happiness, of your freedom.”
If you are like me, and you enjoy purposeful books, you’ll recognize the challenge here.
I was instructed to read only books that evoked my pleasure and joy and carefreeness. Books that could bring me in touch with this present “now” moment, not ones that got me to reflect on the past, or ones that caused me to scheme and create goals and visions of the future. Only books that entertained me in the “now.”
So, I went through my bookshelf, and I found those books, the ones perhaps I hadn’t read in a while, or that I’d read with some type of intent to have an outcome from them. I started finding the books that fit my needs for Sadhana, and you know what the first one was? It was one that I had as a teenager, and it was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Some of us know the story: Charlie finds a golden ticket, which allows him to go to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, and a magical story unfolds.
It was interesting that I chose a magical story, an unbelievable story, an impossible story of “woe to victory”, because in that sacred moment that I gave that hour of my time to, I was being fully replenished – not only from relaxation, but I was being replenished at a child level.
The inner child in me was being nourished; a new playfulness came to me, a sense of magic and happiness, born from an hour spent reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
While I was in this Sadhana, part of my mind was fighting it, going, “This is not going anywhere, I’m wasting time. I could be doing 10, 20 other things.” But I disciplined myself for that hour; I did it every single day, and I did that practice with many books for about three months, before I felt, “You know what? I’m done with reading. What else should I do?”
I approached my mentor, and he said, “Okay, reading feels good, you feel fulfilled on that. That’s what brings you joy and brings you pleasure in the sense of freedom.” I go, “Yes!”
“What next brings you a sense of joy and freedom?” He asked.
For me, it was studying philosophy, spirituality. “Well,” he replied, “How do you do that in a way that’s not intellectual, but that brings your body into it?”
I said, “I love martial arts, and doing Kung-Fu forms, which are pattern movements, which bring about a lot of presence and attention while I’m working on my body.”
He said, “Then do that for an hour a day, slowly, and nothing else.”
So, I did that discipline intensely, and I kept doing it for a while. And when that fell, its course had run dry, then I asked the next one – what brings me greater pleasure, and freedom, and joy, which has no direct outcome or meaning into my outwardly business life.
I’ve continued that practice, I’ve learned from the time of that practice, and what happens now is, I choicefully have made it so that more of my life is less work-oriented but very compact when I am.
I’m going to invite you into this journey, this path of going from doing, doing, doing, to less doing, more honoring, more enjoying, more enjoying the pleasures of this here and now moment, the pleasures of the richness of life as it stands now, as well as enjoying the power of creation that business brings. And the energy, and the vivaciousness, and the rollercoaster of life that brings.
Commit to your own Sadhana – just one hour a day. Only dedicate yourself to what brings you pleasure, joy and freedom at that time. Fight against the urge to drop it earlier, to go back to doing your work. Give the rest of your 8, 10 hours per day fully into your path of direction and achievement.
When you give yourself time to be in the heart of Yin – your bliss, your happiness, your soul nourishment – you will come into a natural balance, a natural harmony.
Greater success will happen for you, spontaneously.
You’ll be living a life not always driven for the future – you’ll be living a life full from the richness of this now moment, from the present freedom and deep fulfillment you have, and can always access.
Enjoy, enjoy this practice for a lifetime – you deserve it.