The New York Yankees lost the Americal League Championship series to the Texas Rangers last night. An old high school friend (Hi Richard!) facebooked me and asked for any solace that might be gained from ancient Chinese philosophy. As a Taoist Yankee fan, I turn immediately to Zhaungzi and the Daodejing.
Consider this passage from Zhuangzi:
This life we're given comes in its own season, and then follows its vanishing away. If you're at ease in your own season, if you can dwell in its vanishing, joy and sorrow never touch you. This is what the ancients called getting free. If you can't get free, you're tangled in things. And things never overcome heaven...
He's discussing death, but his words can apply to the end of a baseball season as well. We know that the Yankees cannot win the World Series every year, and this year, this season, they came up two games short of going to the big game. But that outcome is not shameful. It turns out the Yanks this season are the second best team in the American League. It may hurt some to lose, but look at what was accomplished. It was a good season, ultimately, but now follows its vanishing away. Personally, I am at ease with that, especially since a certain other team in the American League East from a Northeastern city has been relegated to obscurity for weeks now. It was a good season. We have much to look forward to next year.
The Daodejing helps, too. Here is passage 40:
Return is the movement of Way, and yielding the method of Way.
All beneath heaven, the ten thousand things: it's all born of being, and being is born of nonbeing.
If we yield to the outcome of this season we can then look forward to "return." And for the Yankees this means that in the future we will return to the World Series. It is as natural as the passing of the seasons. Will it be next year? Hard to say. But it is inevitable that the Yankees will return, and likely sooner than any other team. That is simply how Way unfolds.