“I bow my head to the heaven within heaven.
Hairline rays illuminating the universe.
The eight winds cannot move me.
Sitting still upon the purple, golden lotus.”
-Su Dongpo, The Song Dynasty poet.
The eight winds Su Dongpo references in his poem about serenity are praise, ridicule, honor, disgrace, gain, loss, pleasure, and misery (Derek Lin,2007). These are the influences which force us out of our state of inner peace or off balance within yourself.
The winds which seem positive such as honor, gain, pleasure and praise can inflate our ego and cause us to believe we are above others. This state of superiority is then desired and becomes a position to defend. A person who gets elevated by the four positive winds may always try to stay above everyone and therefore be detached from the love he needs.
The four winds which seem negative are ridicule, disgrace, loss, and misery. Although most people will not seek for any of these to blow into life – they gust their way to us. The moment we are met with a negative wind which knocks us down it becomes our choice to succumb to that moment and stay down. This way we can never be knocked over again.
The other decision is to learn from the personalized impact of the wind. This learning includes which one of the four winds was able to knock us down. It also includes understanding what caused us to be more vulnerable to that particular negativity.
We cannot eliminate the eight winds from our lives. We can pay attention to how we let them affect our balance. Do we seek the winds which elevate us above others or do we allow the force of some winds to push us below others?
One Thing to Do: Let go of the need to prove anything to others. You can hold onto your values and live from them without needing someone else to honor them. And you can hold beliefs you love without letting differences become proof of disrespect.
Dawna Daigneault, Ed.S., LPC.