The three months of Autumn are called plentiful and balancing
The qi of heaven becomes pressing,
The qi of earth is resplendent.
One goes to bed early,
One gets up early
One does the cock,
Exerting the will peacefully and calmly
Harvesting the spirits and gathering the qi,
Pacifying the Autumn qi, without scattering the will
Clarifying and freshening the lung qi
– The Neijing
The power of autumn is “balance” and that is what we are called upon to do this season: strike a balance. It is now that we need to cut back on the active part of our lives and begin to leave time for rest and recuperation. As we enter the winter months this adjustment should be complete allowing us to rest and revitalize.
Many of us experience similar feelings this time of the year. We feel pushed, rushed and over extended. There is more to do than there is time. The result is tension, stress and dissipation of our chi, our vital energy. The shift into autumn can be difficult. We are used to the unlimited yang (activity) of summer and used to it fueling our projects and activities. But now all that is changing. As the sun continues to recede and the nights become longer, we know instinctively that we can’t continue at the same pace as we did in July, or even August.
Gaining consciousness about these seasonal changes helps resolve inner stress. It is helpful to look for the signs in nature that winter is approaching and begin to make decisions that reflect our commitment to living in harmony with the seasons.
Watch for these signs of the progress of autumn: the end of the heat of summer, the first morning dews, the autumn equinox, the first cold dew and finally the first frost. These signs help us time the coming of winter and begin to postpone those endeavors that can wait until spring.
Just as the animals have this instinctive relationship to the seasons, we do as well. But for most of us it is unconscious. So as the busy autumn season begins at school and at work, there is a sense of inner stress between what our minds are telling us we must accomplish and what our instincts know is possible. Though we live in a culture that in many ways runs counter to the ways of nature, there is much we can do to strike a compromise.