Once upon a time an old man and a young boy journeyed together up a mountain. The boy was full of innocence and impatience and the old man was filled with experience and quietude. The boy was at the beginning of an adventure. The old man was near the end of a long and arduous journey, one that he had begun many years before and that had been filled to overflowing with experiences that he would never have been able to describe to another. The boy was restless and wandering; every little butterfly sent him chasing perilously close to the cliff’s edge. The old man was solid and resigned, yet still amused and entertained by the boy’s reckless abandon.
As they reached the top of the mountain they met an old woman and a young girl climbing up from the other side. They shared the common characteristics of the boy and the old man. The girl was young and full of youthful vigor and vitality. The old woman was wise and serene, yet still able to smile easily and laugh heartily. They too had been on a long and at times perilous journey and they too were now at the end of their quest.
Upon reaching the summit of the mountain the old man, young boy, old woman, and young girl all sat down to rest together in the shade of an ancient and gnarled oak tree. They sat together and looked out over the valley spread before them like a painting from the Tang dynasty. The old woman looked over at the young girl and smiled and the old man looked over at the young man and grinned. They then nodded to each other. Words were not needed and so none were offered. Instead they all sat there, lost in time, floating in space, while the great birds wheeled overhead and the mountain breezes played with their long hair.
Then, after a long time – hours, years, eons – they all turned to each other and, after standing, bowed deeply to each other. Then, like a living yin/yang symbol, they began to dance in flowing circles around and within each other. On and on they danced while the sun slid down over the horizon, then onto the night, under the crystalline star blanket. After a time they began to merge into each other until at last there remained only the faintest trace of their presence. A great circle, with tow entwined fish-like semicircles remained, each giving birth and finding completion in the other. The spiritual remains of the old man and the old woman still flowed endlessly out and into each other and the youthful energy of the young boy and young girl remained there, spinning within the circle of the old man and the old woman.
To this day, certain climbers and hikers – those with clear visions and deep insight – have reported a strange and wonderful sight on top of that mountain. Some people say that they have had visions of four people dancing together in a circle, endlessly flowing and melting into each other. Others swear they hear the sounds of laughter and music in the air, coming from somewhere just above their heads. Others feel they have sensed a presence of joy, wisdom, and deep compassion emanating from the very rocks and trees on that mountaintop.
Other people, of course have seen, heard, and felt nothing – only the quiet sound of the wind blowing across the mountain. These are people who dare not dream in the day and do not sleep deeply in the night. They do not fly on the wings of imagination nor flow with the energy of the universe as it courses through their own bodies. They are, of course, in the majority.
Yet, those who do see, hear, and feel the living yin/yang symbol there on the mountaintop are never quite the same.