What exactly is Yin & Yang?
The meaning and the symbol are concepts used in Taoism and both date back to ancient China. The Yin and Yang is called the “Taijitu” but is mostly referred to as the “Yin Yang” in the west. It has two principles; one is dark, negative, passive (yin) and the other is light, positive and active (yang). They represent the belief that everything in the universe consists of two forces, that are opposing but also complementary. The symbol consists of a circle equally divided into black and white sections, by a reverse S-like shape. Within the white section there is a small circle of black, and within the black section there is a small circle of white.
While looking at the symbol, the outer circle represents everything in the universe and the universe itself. It encompasses the duality of everything that exists. The black section represents Yin is defined by anything that has the following characteristics; feminine, passive, intuitive, delusion, moon, dark, cold, contracting, submission, matter, night, soft, stillness, and rivers. The white section represents “Yang”. Yang is masculine, active, logical, enlightenment, sun, light, creation, dominance, energy, strong, hot, expanding, hard, movement, and mountains. The black and white sections together represent the interaction of the energies found in all things. The interaction of these two is thought to maintain the harmony in the universe and to influence everything in it. They illustrate the cyclical nature of yin and yang.
If you look at the symbol, you may see two halves at first. There are two halves that together complete wholeness. Yin and Yang are also the starting point for change. When something is whole, it is unchanging and complete. When the two halves are split, it upsets the equilibrium of wholeness. This starts both halves chasing after each other as they seek a new balance with each other. We experience examples of yin and yang everyday. The universe and everything in it is both constant and cyclical. One force dominates and then it is replaced by the opposing force. This continues, constantly, and repeats itself over time. Examples of this are; life and death, night and day, dark and light, health and sickness, poverty and wealth, cold and hot, and also the cycle of the seasons.
Neither yin nor yang are absolute. Nothing is completely yin, and nothing is completely yang. Each aspect contains the beginning point for the other aspect. For an example, day becomes night, and then night becomes day. Yin and yang are always interdependent upon each other. The nature of yin and yang flows and changes with time. As i previously mentioned, day flows into night, but the length of day and night are changing. The summation of Yin and Yang from a whole, as one aspect increases, the other decreases to maintain overall balance.
However; the balance of Yin and Yang can be skewed due to outside influences. Four possible balances can exist. Yang deficiency, Yin deficiency, excess Yang, and excess Yin. These possible imbalances can be paired so an excess of yin, can stimulate a deficiency of yang, and vice versa. Here are some examples of imbalances having to do with yin and yang- excess of yang could result in a fever, and an excess of yin could mean the accumulation of fluids in the body, such as a congested nose. When yin and yang are in dynamic balance and relating harmoniously, there are no symptoms to observe. However; when yin and yang are out of balance, they become separated. When yin does not cool and nourish yang, yang rises and when yang does not warm and activate yin, yin rises.
Yin Yang is not just a symbol used to represent the good and the bad in life. It goes much further than that. Yin Yang is a system of recognizing how to separate out patterns in our life, while also relaxing to accept the overall whole and complete nature of the Tao.
“When people see things as beautiful, ugliness is created. When people see things as good, evil is created. Being and non being produce each other. Difficult and easy compliment each other. Long and short define each other.”