“I don’t understand. Why didn’t you free yourself? Why did you surrender when Omashu was invaded? What’s the matter with you, Bumi?”
“Listen to me, Aang. There are options in fighting, called jing. It’s a choice of how you direct your energy…”
“I know! There’s positive jing when you’re attacking, and negative jing when you’re retreating!”
“… and neutral jing when you do nothing!”
“There are three jings?”
“Well, technically, there are eighty-five. But, let’s just focus on the third. Neutral jing is the key to earthbending. It involves listening and waiting for the right moment to strike.”
“That’s why you surrendered, isn’t it?”
“Yes, and it’s why I can’t leave now.”
“I guess I need to find someone else to teach me earthbending.”
“Your teacher will be someone who has mastered neutral jing. You need to find someone who waits and listens before striking.”
I’ve been dealing with a lot of personal stuff as of late. And a lot of not-so-personal stuff. Financial and job frustrations are among those, and the fact that I haven’t been able to figure out just how to apply my magic or what results I want to achieve haven’t been helping.
I’ve been re-watching Avatar to prepare a series of videos I want to make on how the series has influenced how I interact with the elements. (I mean the real Avatar, not that sci-fi Pochahontas remake or that abomination by M Night Shamalamadingdong.)
And I encountered the scene in which Bumi and Aang have the above conversation.
I’m not an earthy person. I’ve very watery by nature. The only planet in my natal chart in an earth sign is Chiron (which most people don’t consider a planet) and it’s retrograde. I am a creature of inertia – I tend to act and react depending on where my momentum is taking me.
So holding action to a precise moment of opportunity appears isn’t always easy for me.
I have some things that have been slowly coming into place. And I’m starting to recognize that when certain things are in position, I will be prepared to strike — to take major action and get things moving again. Because if I just charge ahead the ways things are now, I will actually maintain the status quo and continue to be limited by the circumstances I am in.
This is a very difficult lesson for me to learn. But it’s growing on me.
My biggest concern is that waiting will cease motion, and my inertia will keep me from moving when the time is right. But I think that I’m getting caught in a metaphor, and might be better off thinking in terms of clearing a path before opening a floodgate. The potential energy is building up, and once the conditions are right, a path for it to flow will present itself.
But waiting isn’t enough. I must wait and listen. I need to be more aware of what options are around me, and what it will take to exploit them.
But part of it is also letting go of lust for results. I’m getting restless, impatient. I want to act, to see results. The fact that I have skills that grant me hints of the future, and allow me to manipulate reality to achieve these things, makes it harder to back off. And don’t get me wrong — I’m still working my magic. But I’m focusing on smaller goals that I believe will lead to the conditions for great action, instead of trying to decide what the great action should be.
This is one of the reasons I don’t like Buddhism or that enlightenment nonsense. Letting go and letting the world happen as it will is not in my nature. This is as Zen as I’ve ever been, and I’m chaffing severely at it.
And I’m still not sure where things will go. I have some ideas of what those options are, but I’m trying to be aware of them without lusting after them. There is a nexus point coming up, and when I reach it I will see those options and make a choice.
And the action will happen, and my worry over what path I will be on will end.
And until then, I will wait. And listen.