The whole harmony of life is a balancing act–not too tight, not too loose. It is not static—this Yin-Yang balance—it is in constant motion, ever impermanent as it shifts and adapts but always it is whole, complete.
The phrase “not too tight, not too loose” is associated with a well-known Buddhist story about a musician—he is a sitar or lute player depending upon the version–who comes to the Buddha for advice on meditating.
“The strings break,” the musician answers.
“And when the strings are not tight enough?”
The musician replies, “They are too loose. A string in tune is neither too tight nor too loose.”
Not too tight, not too loose is the elegant simplicity of balance, whether we are tuning a musical instrument, practicing meditation, or just living our lives day-to-day. Ultimately, imbalance finds balance.
The constant adjusting of imbalance plays out against the backdrop of life ever in motion and always in perfect balance. That is the wholeness of Buddha nature where cacophony finds its way to harmony, ultimately.
The tuning of strings on wood is straightforward but for human beings with so many ways to adjust and adapt what is too much or not enough is not always as obvious.
It is helpful when there is a buddha to ask, although the face of a buddha is not always recognized.
We meet ourselves time and again
in a thousand disguises on the path of life.
These disguises, or buddhas, are mirrors of well-known behaviors, the “ineffable flux that makes a person a unique being” (Ted Kaptchuk). It is for us to look into each mirror, to seek the unique in the familiar, to open to life as it is revealed. If not, we could miss meeting a buddha.
The uniqueness is the chaos of being alive—the struggle for balance—within the constancy of life, whole in its harmony. Like the strings of the lute, living requires a fine tuning between too much and not enough. And for the sitar, it is how it sings.
There is no standard or absolute–what is health for one person may be sickness in another. There is no notion of “normal” Yin-Yang–only the unique challenges and possibilities of each human life.
(Ted Kaptchuk, The Web That Has No Weaver)
As Lao Tzu said, “he who stands on tiptoe is not steady” for the only constancy in Yin-Yang is that it—and us—are ever in flux. There is no one health for all, no normal for anyone. There is only the fine tuning of living—not too tight, not too loose—in attaining balance, momentary as it may be.
Nothing remains; everything passes by.
The only thing that always abides is your witnessing.
That witnessing brings balance.
That witnessing is balance.
Always, there is the passing parade of buddhas, in one disguise after another.