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Tui The Joyous Lake

Leaf droplets on lake
"A little child
paddles a little boat,
drifting about,
and picking white lotuses.
He does not know
how to hide his tracks,
and duckweed's
opened up along his path."
-Bai Juyi

Blog Feature: Nature's Archetypes

The Lake offers a place to relax with family and friends. Along its shores, we discover the art of tranquility and watch life’s reflection upon its shimmering surface. A gust of wind may disturb its surface momentarily, although it remains anchored to its depths and always evens out.

The ancient Taoist emulated the behavior of the Lake to practice achieving tranquility in disturbance. Regardless of the changes, we can make our heart like a Lake to discover how the path always opens before us.

“Make your heart like a lake
with a calm, still surface
and great depths of kindness.”

At the onset of summer, Tui or the Joyous Lake takes form as the top two lines transform. The two strong and creative lines below portray a growing power that can only emerge by being firm in stillness, while remaining open to experience. After spring's seeds have multiplied and established a strong footing beneath the Earth, there is enormous creative energy below, flowing through a gentle opening above. The landscape becomes a joyful celebration of fertility and exploding color.

Tui, like the path of Joy in Hindu philosophy, offers a lesson about removing judgment and an attachment to a specific outcome to find the pleasure of discovering life on its own terms. We do not lead with expectation, but follow with excitement, expressing wonderment in the unfolding moment. Consumed by need, we can sometimes find ourselves in cycles of expectation and ultimate disappointment. Masking the emptiness of our lack of fulfillment, we resort to instant gratification and discover only fleeting satisfaction.

Adopting the innocence of a child, we experience true joy by being open to the world we are growing into. We allow events to pull us forward from the center of our te. Making ‘the heart like a lake,’ we reach deep inside and discover a wellspring within. Once tapped, all that we seek from others transforms into our unique way of giving.

“Is not the action of nature like the stretching of a bow?
The high, it pulls down; the low, it lifts up;
It takes from what is in excess
In order to make good of what is deficient.
Who can take what they have in excess and offer it to others?”

We search for reassurance in the ways that we are alike, although our real nature is revealed in the ways in which we are different. Tui or the Joyous Lake represents how a sense of fulfillment becomes an evolutionary mechanism. Dissatisfaction or unhappiness is merely a hunger pain that prods us toward necessary change. At the same time, satisfaction or the art of contentment allows us to offset the desire to consume that arises from being unfulfilled.

As children, we threw stones into the Lake to observe how it moved in circular waves that rippled outward toward the shore. We could have thrown a rectangular block into the water, and the waves still moved in perfect circles. This is because the ‘fabric’ of water reflects the movement of energy, while remaining intact. As a lesson from the lake, we find our center and hold to it. To feel life's energy moving through us in this way brings joy.

Moving with the flowing energy of life, we witness how we live, interact, play and learn all at the same time. We are part of the great bow that stretches across an endless space to release us like arrows into the path of our destiny. Our ability to remain pliable ensures that we stretch with the motion of life. The great waters of the Lake run deep because it remains connected to the greater river of life.

"Make your heart like a lake,
Like a vessel that is never full.
How deep and unfathomable,
It cannot be exhausted.”