Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Yin and the Yang of it all.

In Chinese philosophy, the concept of yin and yang is used to describe how polar or seemingly contrary forces are interconnected and interdependent in the natural world, and how they give rise to each other in turn.

If my life were mapped out, I would have to have a timeline with my yin on the top of the map and my yang just below that line.

Each day brings even more ups and downs. I assure you it is never anything small. Big wins, and horrible losses.

In Taoist philosophy, yin and yang arise together from an initial quiescence or emptiness (wuji, sometimes symbolized by an empty circle), and continue moving in tandem until quiescence is reached again. Let me see if I can explain that better.

Imagine dropping a stone in a calm pool of water. This will simultaneously raise waves and lower troughs between them, and this alternation of high and low points in the water will radiate outward until the movement dissipates and the pool is calm once more.

Yin–yang, thus, are always opposite and equal qualities. Further, whenever one quality reaches its peak it will naturally begin to transform into the opposite quality: grain that reaches its full height in summer (fully yang) will produce seeds and die back in winter (fully yin) in an endless cycle.

Such is the good and bad in my life. In every one's life really.

Good? Peace in my home. Good work trip. Today is payday. Bad? To keep the peace, sometimes I have to walk on egg shells. 2. Relationships are good at work, but media impressions remain to be seen. 3. Most of the money goes straight to bills.

It is impossible to talk about yin or yang without some reference to the opposite, since yin–yang are bound together as parts of a mutual whole.

A race with only men or only women would disappear in a single generation; but men and women together create new generations that allow the race they mutually create (and mutually come from) to survive. The interaction of the two gives birth to things. Yin and yang transform each other: like an undertow in the ocean, every advance is complemented by a retreat, and every rise transforms into a fall. Thus, a seed will sprout from the earth and grow upwards towards the sky – an intrinsically yang movement. Then when it reaches its full potential height it will fall.

Does that mean - we are all given the opportunity for things to blossom and unfold (how appropriate with spring coming up) - to only fall down again and rebuild?

Using the symbolism of yin and yang - the relationship between yin and yang is often described in terms of sunlight playing over a mountain and in the valley. Yin (literally the 'shady place' or 'north slope') is the dark area occluded by the mountain's bulk, while yang (literally the 'sunny place' or 'south slope') is the brightly lit portion. As the sun moves across the sky, yin and yang gradually trade places with each other, revealing what was obscured and obscuring what was revealed.

Yin is usually characterized as slow, soft, insubstantial, diffuse, cold, wet, and tranquil. They are generally associated with Femininity, birth and generation, and with the Night.
Yang, by contrast, is characterized as fast, hard, solid, dry, focused, hot, and aggressive. They are associated with Masculinity and with the Daytime.

From a philosophical standpoint practitioners of Zen Yoga see yin-yang as a flow.

The Yin/Yang symbol is one of the oldest and best-known life symbols in the world, but few understand its full meaning.

It represents one of the most fundamental and profound theories of ancient Taoist philosophy.

At its heart are the two poles of existence, which are opposite but complementary.

The light, white Yang moving up blends into the dark, black Yin moving down.

Yin and Yang are dependent opposing forces that flow in a natural cycle, always seeking balance.

Though they are opposing, they are not in opposition to one another.

As part of the Tao, they are merely two aspects of a single reality.

Each contains the seed of the other, which is why we see a black spot of Yin in the white Yang and vice versa. They do not merely replace each other but actually become each other through the constant flow of the universe.

Perhaps I need to take this philosophy and put it to good use. If my opposing forces are just as necessary as my other side, and if I can see them as a harmonious balance in my life - perhaps I can then sit and relax and let the ebb and flow of the good times and bad come and go.. Because they will always come.. and yet they always go.

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