Balance and harmony, sincerity and integrity, spirit, energy and vitality are seven words without reference to anything actual, tangible, material, concrete-- capable of being held, touched, smelled, weighed, measured, acquired, amassed, horded... They refer to states of being. And there are no steady states of being. Being is being in motion, and being at rest, being full, and being empty, being alive and being dead, and being somewhere in between. Hold that thought. The Bible talks about "In the beginning..." What was before the beginning? The Tao goes there. "The Way produces One, One produces Two, Two produce Three, Three produce all things" (The One is the Source, the Two are Yin and Yang, The Three are Heaven, Earth and Human Beings). Where does The Way come from? What is the origin of God? Nothing is before The Way, just as Nothing is before God. Nothing is before the Beginning. Nothing is the Very Beginning. From Nothing all arise. To Nothing all return. In between are ephemeral states of being, coming and going, moving and resting, rising and falling, living and dying... Nothing--Being/Moving/etc.--Nothing. Nothing is the origin. We approach the origin through Emptiness. Emptiness is our way of experiencing Nothing. We think Emptiness and Nothing are terrible, horrible, no good, very bad, awful, dreadful and to be avoided at all costs. Yet, they are the Source of the Source! And the Source is the origin of Yin and Yang (Duality/Contradiction), and Yin and Yang are the source of Heaven/Earth/Humanity which are the source of all that is. We come from Nothing and we return to Nothing and in between there is all that is. Good and Bad are perspectives which hinge on perception and consist of points of view. How we look determines what we see. What we see determines how we feel. How we feel determines what we do. What we do determines how we feel (The feedback loop is launched) How we feel determines how we look. How we look determines what we see... And all there is are ephemeral states of being, all flowing from and returning to Nothing. Nothing is all there is. Emptiness is as close to Nothing as we can be and still be alive, and it is the key to living fully and living well, because Emptiness is without motive, without intention, without purpose, without duty, without fear, without desire and consists of openness to all of it, to everything, and is uniquely able to do what is needed about it all, in response to it all, here and now. From emptiness comes right seeing, right hearing, right perceiving, right knowing, right understanding, right doing, right being because there is Nothing to get in the way and hijack The Way and lead us off the path into the wasteland of having/getting/possessing/ acquiring/amassing/etc. that constitutes life in the wasteland where we kid ourselves and pretend to be really living. If you want to live well, become empty and embrace the joy of doing what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, where it needs to be done, the way it needs to be done, because it needs to be done, moment by moment, in each situation as it arises, and experience the satisfaction of having done it, knowing there is Nothing to it, and feeling just grand about it all.
Noise and complexity are neutralized by art (including poetry and literature), music and nature mediated by silence and solitude. The right kind of reflection results in the right kind of realization which leads to the right kind of life within the noise and complexity of each situation as it arises amid the context of the circumstances as we find them here and now. We do not deal well with crazy or manage well our response to chaos without close, nourishing, nurturing relationships with art (including poetry and literature), music and nature, silence and solitude.
We walk two paths at the same time. Yin and Yang. Sometimes we are Yin, and sometimes we are Yang, and always we are Yin and Yang. Flux and Flow define us and our life. Sometimes we do it this way, and sometimes we do it that way, in response to our circumstances in each situation as it arises. Jesus said, "The spirit is like the wind that blows where it will." Doing what needs to be done here and now without concern for, or reference to, what we just did, or what we will do next. Each moment is a time/place of its own, and calls for action that may be unlike anything we have ever done, or thought/imagined we would be capable of doing. Duty is sat aside. Dogma/Dharma/Doctrine is not a worthy guide. "The path that can be discerned as a path is not a reliable path." We make it up as we go in response to the situation as it arises out of our instinct/intuition/imagination in the moment of our living, one moment at a time. What has gone on before, and what will follow after, have nothing to do with what is to be done here and now. "Here we are, now what?" How we answer that question makes all the difference. And we must be free of all influences, intentions and expectations, in order to listen/hear, look/see, what is happening and what needs to happen in response, and respond sincerely/spontaneously out of instinct/intuition/imagination in doing what is called for with the gifts that are ours to offer in the time for acting, and let the outcome be the outcome. Offering a cup of cool water to a thirsty child. Eating when hungry, resting when tired. Rising to the occasion in ways appropriate to the occasion. Occasion after occasion. All our life long.
We have no idea of what it would take to make us happy in an absolute kind of way. Ephemeral happiness is all we know. But we want constant, unrelenting, complete, total, unchanging, Happiness Now and Forever! Anything less than that is dismal and demoralizing. Erroneous expectations and implausible wanting are at the root of all of our problems. We cannot square ourselves up with the way things are because we have such wonderful ideas for how they ought to be. Happy is squared up with how things are-- no matter what they are. Which is to say that anybody can be happy anywhere, any time, any how, with just a shift or two in their perspective, outlook and orientation. Well-adjusted people are people who make the necessary adjustments to however their circumstances evolve. Happy is a frame of mind, a point of view, able to take whatever comes its way and use it to its advantage. Never saying, "Oh NO!" But, "What can I do with this?" or, "What can I make of this?" or, "Where can this take me?" It is as though our circumstances are magic carpet rides into our future, enlarging our worldview, and triggering our super powers, and calling forth the tools, attitude and spirit required to meet what faces us and dance, dance, dance-- twinkling and laughing all the way.