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Elegance is such a…well, elegant word. It derives from the Latin for having the taste to choose (something tasteful) and is so elegant you can use it as an adjective for anything from good to bad – an elegant speech or an elegant life.

Tasteful is such a nebulous idea, yet somehow we all know when someone exhibits good taste – a lack of ostentation and most notably a lack of waste – no superfluous frills or pointless trim to make a point, simple ergonomic lines, and most notably no waste.

And the reason I mention it is in respect of the Tao, that which defies description or explanation, much like tastefulness, but which we all intrinsically understand as the original source of all existence and non-existence, matter and antimatter, energy and dark energy, yang and yin. Because I’m sure if the Tao condoned or abhorred things which obviously it doesn’t as it isn’t a person like you or I, it would certainly abhor waste and ostentation, and would certainly condone elegance.

Yet paradoxically as the prime mover of the universe at every level from the submicroscopic to the meta-telescopic if such a thing exists, the Tao gives rise to entire galaxies smashing mindlessly into each other and making such a confounded mess of it, black holes are required to be formed to swallow it all up so the universe looks spotless again.

Or on a more local level, great destruction is wrought by mindless wars yet is inevitably followed by huge construction and ensuing prosperity.

Or in your own life and affairs, money gets wasted, words get wasted, opportunities get wasted, yet somehow things rebalance and elegance ultimately reigns.

And though the universe, or we could say Tao, is purportedly infinite and expanding, though no one really knows for sure, it seems there is a finite quota of everything and as one thing is destroyed the energy released is used for the creation of another thing, so nothing is wasted. And this implies finiteness, which is fully paradoxical.

So it appears we mustn’t confuse the clean tasteful lines of elegance with an absence of mess, To the contrary, it seems the mess of destruction, and of construction for that matter (for it’s rare to come across a tidy builder), is an intrinsic composite of elegance.

And we therefore mustn’t waste energy fighting the mess, or covering it over, in order to find elegance, but use the mess to construct whatever we’re building in life.

We must bounce up from the mess to create the new. We can’t bounce up from tidiness because it’s too tidy to gain any purchase on.

And I’m aware you may be thinking he’s lost his marbles going on like this, or isn’t he just repeating what he said last week about loving the mess of life, but no, I’m as sane as always and while possibly repetitive, only so in the cause of emphasizing how important it is not to care about things getting messy, in fact not to care about what happens at all, simply because for one you’re innately so appreciative of the gift of being here it doesn’t matter whether you’re having to undergo trials and tribulations, or the exhalation of triumph over adversity, and two, because you understand how everything without exception is subject to the yin-yang dynamic, hence after every mess comes something elegant, and after every display of elegance comes a mess.

Yet even that whole process is elegant.

I’m not saying glorify mess, because mess is messy. But honor it as equally part of the Tao as its opposite.

For the more we’re able to embrace all aspects of the Tao with equanimity, the more the Tao is able to embrace us with equanimity.

And the paradox then is that when the Tao embraces you with equanimity, the impact and intensity of the yin-yang dynamic is attenuated and the levels of mess decrease substantially.

And the way to strike this balance begins with learning to sit back inside, filling your rear with presence, your mind drawn into the back-brain, whence you’re able far more easily to bear full witness to the magnificent theater of yin transforming to yang and vice versa, than when pressed into the front sector where all the noise of being human is going on, thus leaving no space for your soul to appreciate the gift of being.

So just for one moment picture a huge industrial vacuum pressed into your back, sucking you backwards and backwards until you’re entirely filling your rear sector.

Then observe the human noise region up front has gone instantly quiet and relatively still. Now appreciate the gift of being for a moment. And notice how all the cares that were demanding your attention so vehemently hitherto are now seen as far less significant or potentially bothersome.

You’re free to repair to your back at any time, so remember top do so especially when feeling stressed or overwhelmed and by and by, like small holes in a damn eventually causing it to break asunder, you’ll find yourself defaulting to the back-position pretty much all the time, at which point you can truly say, ‘blow me, he was right that Barefoot Doctor, my life has totally transformed'.

Enjoy the fruits of this to the full, it’s your birthright after all.

With love, that same Barefoot Doctor

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