I'm sure I'm not the first person to hit on this topic or from this angle, but I was just exercising and the old saying "A rolling stone gathers no moss" popped into my head. To say that it "popped" into my head is kind of an understatement, for, when I began to reflect on it, I dropped straight to my rump and was lost in thought.
Which one exhibits life? The rolling stone is active, but is being active all there is to life? The resting stone gathers moss. It is covered in life, but it doesn't go anywhere. At rest, life is attracted to it. In motion, life is beaten off of it and the stone is worn down, possibly broken to bits.
A rolling stone is naturally moving to the lowest point it can achieve. In Taoist philosophy, this is a good thing. It means that it is going to a point of rest. Scientifically, the higher the point, the more kinetic potential an object has up to terminal velocity. It gains potential for the fall. Even the braking down into the smaller pieces is looked at by Taoists as a good thing.
"Thus it is that dignity finds its (firm) root in its (previous)
meanness, and what is lofty finds its stability in the lowness (from
which it rises). Hence princes and kings call themselves 'Orphans,'
'Men of small virtue,' and as 'Carriages without a nave.' Is not this
an acknowledgment that in their considering themselves mean they see
the foundation of their dignity? So it is that in the enumeration of
the different parts of a carriage we do not come on what makes it
answer the ends of a carriage. They do not wish to show themselves
elegant-looking as jade, but (prefer) to be coarse-looking as an
(ordinary) stone." (Tao Te Ching: Chapter 39, J. Legge, Translator, http://www.sacred-texts.com/tao/taote.htm)
Is hitting "rock bottom" really something we should fear, or is it something that should be welcomed and appreciated? It is said that we find our greatest strength and epiphanies when we have hit our lowest point and it really is at this lowest point when we have the opportunity for rest and to find our stability again.
Speaking for myself, I understand that it's the fall that scares me. Something has to happen, typically something really bad, for me to hit that bottom. Within the fall I lose sight of the end result and fight ferociously to stop it from happening, which only causes more to tumble down on top of me as I make my descent. Maybe that is a part of MY fall, but I believe that it is more associated with anxieties and fears. It is a lesson in trusting the fall. I've done this before and, in hind sight, I can see that it was necessary, but, of course, hind sight is 20/20. It's something that I need to practice: maintaining this perspective during these moments BETWEEN being up and being down.
Fall down, get back up. It's all practice.