how well are we in tune with the rhythm of life? in our busy day to day existence, we don"t often stop to ask ourselves this question. at least i don"t. and it wasn"t until i joined a competitive sporting event that i learned a most important lesson – we must place our mind in harmony with the natural order of things to be successful.
let me tell you what happened.
i decided to take part in an international marathon in my hometown last year. being an ambitious person, i hoped to finish it within 5 hours, accompanied by my friend with whom i had trained.
the big day finally arrived. “ready…set…bang” and we were off.
at first, we kept a rapid pace and ran nonstop. at this pace, we finished the first 20 kilometers in 2 hours and i thought running a marathon was a piece of cake. then my running mate began to slow down. i urged him to keep running at the same pace but he said no, he wanted to conserve his energy. i felt i had partnered with the wrong person, therefore, i sprinted on and left him behind in the dust.
a few kilometers later, i began to understand his strategy as my pace slowed to a jog then a walk. after that i was incapable of moving another step. i was humiliated as more and more people ran passed me. more than once i thought “maybe i should quit.” i started to doubt my ability to finish this race.
at this moment, my running mate caught up with me and slapped me on the back. “follow me,” he shouted. he had balanced his marathon pace and was encouraged me to do the same. for the rest of this grueling contest, we walked, jogged, ran a few miles, and walked again. slowly, painfully but hopefully this time, we established the most suitable pace within the natural flow of our physical capabilities.
eventually we accomplished our first marathon of 42 kilometers in 4 and half hours. i asked myself, what did this marathon mean to me? my marathon experience became an influential metaphor for my life about how we must learn to pace ourselves in everything, by being in tune with the rhythm of life.
like the tide that ebbs and flows, we must listen to advice but make our own decisions. like the show at dawn and dusk, we must learn to balance pride and modesty. and from the way the wind can both shout and whisper, we must learn when to be strong and when to be gentle, for everything moves in its own rhythm and its own yin and yang elements. it is the interaction of these complementary extremes that produces harmony, as laozi said, extremes meet. since the marathon, this notion of two opposite forces working together has been my running partner, so to speak. yin and yang exist everywhere, constantly interacting, and never existing in an absolute condition.