In his remarkable treasure "All Things Being Equal" Chuang Tzu tells an exemplary tale of two men who met their ends by opposite means; one by having all his focus on his internal state, to the extent that he didn't see the approaching tiger that ate him, and another so focused on externals that he didn't recognize the disease that ate him from the inside out.
This parable came to mind when I was teaching my daughter to braid Challah last Saturday at Kolot; as you probably know, that's how you make a braid, you keep returning alternating stragglers back to the center. It seems nature itself is always trying to find a balance, and our bodies are constantly and imperceptibly making small adjustments to keep us in the best possible state of comfort and wellbeing, as best it can. Fullness and emptiness, activity and rest, focus and diffusion, standing and lying down, joy and pain take turns bringing us to a stable center just as last week's beautiful weather has given way to these days of rain. The braiding is a kind of dance that we are always a part of, a weave that wends through the stream of our lives. You could say this dance is the constant. It brings to mind the squaredance I attended last Friday, especially the part where each individual weaves her way around the circle taking the hands of each other individual who comes along. No one is left out, and the weave is immaculate. It wasn't meant to be anything but a good time but I can't help but observe that it was also a beautiful ceremony paying homage to nature's constant, the creation of metabolic, psychological and social balance.
Honestly, I can't say enough about Chuang Tzu in regards to the clarity of his thought, the seeds of beauty in his wisdom or the poetry of his language, and I can't say enough about the anagogy of the squaredance, and who could ever say enough about Challah?