When we look at the Tree of Life we often see three path coming from our physical world. Without getting too concrete on the symbolism we can think of these as the three options we have before us – that is – three manifestations of the Path of Return. The short version is that these paths also can work into a single path, that is, we can move through all of them on our journey, however, we still need to pick one and stick with it if we are to start. In his book Relaxing Into Your Being – The Water Method of Taoist Meditation Series (Vol. 1), B.K. Frantzis states, “In general, Taoists have been self-motivated individuals who have sought to function from the drives of their own inner awareness rather than external circumstances. Prevailing societal beliefs have been irrelevant to them. … Many got fed up with the world. It is not so much that these Taoists left the world, it was more as if the world left them. Feeling this, they lacked any concern about what conventional society considered to be important – they had come to recognize the limitations of external appearances. They did not care if they uplifted people or upset them, and could have cared less about what people thought of them. … One of goals of every Taoist is to understand the energy of any individual, object, event, or interaction. …Conservative Taoists in China tend to isolate themselves in the mountains…in this way they gradually disengage from the distractions of worldly life. … In stark contrast, the wondering … Taoist were known for being outrageous in their lifestyles and sexual behaviors. There was nothing they would not do …[and] frequently scorned or ignored social conventions and expectations outright. But while they often repudiated many specific aspects and values of society, they … adhered to awareness in all they did, avoided causing harm, and attempted to balance all they came in contact with. … If you walk [this] path of Taoism, you will meditate and then will find yourself deliberately entering into situations where you continually risk all of your most cherished images of yourself. Detached, but with the goal of actually sharpening awareness, [these Taoists] play an active role in the world.
The bulk of Taoists, however, are in the center. They go about their meditation practices by themselves or in small groups, meeting members of other groups for a variety of secular and spiritual purposes. [They] lead normal lives. They go to school, have jobs, own businesses, and raise families.
We have to pick our path, and maybe even change it as we go. In the end, it all about becoming aware of ourself, of who we are, and what we are capable of, and what is going on around us. That is what awareness of Yesod and the Paths that lead to it and from it can offer us – if we pay attention.