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Dave and Anke
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Friday, June 7, 2013

The Opportune Moment

Cartoon by Robert Weber

To everything there is a season,
And a time for every purpose under Heaven.
-- Ecclesiastes

We await the Opportune Moment.
-- Cap'n Jack Sparrow

The Opportune Moment

There be tides a'runnin' the whole world over, as the song goes. Winds blow fair and foul. Sun and rain come and go. Spring turns to summer to autumn into winter, and back again. The cycles of our lives.

Other things flow in one direction, only. Gravity pulls downward -- we must lift or push uphill. Energy flows toward equilibrium -- we must feed the fires. Matter erodes -- we must repair and renew. And we ourselves flow toward the day we die -- we must sieze the day. The very moment.

These are our givens. We work within their constraints. No amount of genius, no amount of effort can alter their sway. All that is done is accomplished with them, or against them.

The ancient Taoists admired water for being in tune with the natural flows of the world. They observed how, without the least effort, water flows into equilibrium... ever in balance. How it is soft, yet stronger than stone. Yeilding without ever being overcome. How, pent, it is patient. They were inspired by water and its way, which they generalized to all things as the Way.

Like water, we can flow at one with the Way of the world, or struggle against it.

Now this doesn't mean that we only flow downhill. It is a metaphor, after all. Those Taoists knew about work in life. They liked mountains, and wandered their high slopes. They liked to be warm, and chopped wood. Liked to drink, and carried water. Liked to eat, and planted, tended, harvested, threshed and winnowed rice. All these entail effort and exertion.

But for every purpose, there is an Opportune Moment. That moment when the Way aligns with action. When the world puts its shoulder to the task, alongside ours. When the work is light and the pace easy. When we have breath enough to sing it along. When it's fun. 

As sailors, we learn to use the wind and tides. Wait for them to come round to our favor. Chart our course along or across them, harnessing their power. Play the eddies they create -- regions of opportunity swirling along their edges, transforming foul to fair.

And we sing! Sing to raise the anchor. Sing to call the wind. Sing to pass the hours underway.

And so it may be in every moment of our lives, if we let it. If we seek out the opportune moment, matching our purpose to the world, and not the other way round. 

If we sieze each moment, and build from them all... the Opportune Life.

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