Celebrate the summer solstice as the Chinese philosophers did

Deborah Byrd of EarthSky.org puts some Asian perspective on today’s summer solstice:

There is a deep understanding in Chinese tradition of nature’s predictable cycle. The understanding of nature’s cycle could be applied to many things: not just the seasons or the growth of plants, but also, for example, relationships, one’s work, the development of a child, emotions, the progress of a disease, a life in its totality.

For the western mind, the passage of the seasons is a good illustration of the orderliness of this natural cycle. As we all know, things sprout and begin to grow (spring). They reach their fullness (summer). They begin to dry and wither (autumn). They rest (winter). The Chinese also include a fifth “season” or “phase” in their thinking, sometimes described as “late summer.” In ancient Chinese thought, these five “elements” or five “phases” include an inherent understanding that the cycle continues, over and over, with each period of rest or winter followed by new growth, or spring.

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