What is Yin and Yang?
What does Yin and Yang tell us about living with chaos in our modern lives?
Hello fellow Protagonists,
The first memories I get from looking at this Yin and Yang symbol are from 90's tattoo trends.
I seem to recall people usually deciding to place it right in the center of the shoulder. If you had this tattoo done then please get in touch. This post may just be dedicated to you!
The Yin and Yang symbol is a black and white circle with two tear shaped sections, both of these sections also has a spot of the contrasting colour within it.
The concept of Yin and Yang influences the philosophies of Taoism and Confucianism, which are found in ancient Chinese culture, dating back as far as 700 B.C.E. Together the Yin and Yang symbol can also be called the Taijitu symbol.
What does it mean?
People will often refer to Yin and Yang as the balance of good and evil and in a sense this is correct. The black and white sections do not only indicate good and evil but of all opposites in the universe.
Though they are opposite they are not separate. As you can see within each side of the symbol there is an element of the other. However you cut the circle through the middle each half will always contain some Yin and some Yang.
The curvy line down the middle also signifies that there are no absolute separations between these two opposites.
By opposites this can mean a whole array of matters, such as:
Both halves are forever moving and trying to chase after each other to seek balance and harmony. As one side grows the other has to shrink but no matter how much one side takes over at the time, there will always be an aspect of it's opposite inside that cannot be removed.
So what does that mean for us?
In other words - however a situation may be (good or bad), there has to be an element of its opposite that is still present.
Neither side is absolute.
Recently there has been some seriously hot, humid and muggy weather here in UK. It is only a matter of time that this can continue until a thunderstorm is created which helps to return some balance of equilibrium to the weather, dropping the temperature and feeling fresher.
This of course eventually happened.
Calm and chaos can also be viewed as opposites and some people will do whatever they can to remove chaos from their lives. Although they are opposites they cannot exist without each other.
According to the Yin and Yang symbol there is always some calmness within chaos and some chaos within calmness. It would therefore be impossible to live a chaos free life.
Calmness brings many benefits to our lives: We will feel less stressed, can focus on what matters to us, improves our health and allows us to rest.
Chaos also brings many benefits to our lives: It allows us to test our strength, to learn from tough situations, to solve problems and to require the needs of other people.
A life of 100% calmness would mean we would not grow from managing challenges and not really need other people. In a world of 100% chaos we would not be granted the time and rest to deal with incoming problems and would always be worried about what is directly in-front of us.
Having that healthy mix of both is ideal.
Without chaos how would we appreciate the calm? It would just be the norm every single day. We probably wouldn't even need a word for calm, as what would be the point?
I cannot remember exactly where I read this but someone once wrote that a quick look at one of our busiest cities looks chaotic at first but in fact it is just huge numbers of people going exactly where they need to go. In a strange way it is complete order.
This concept also reminds me of the importance of celebrating space and how things would not exist if nothing also did not exist. We need nothing in order for something to be real.
A more Western phrase would be something like "You can get too much of a good thing."
The aim is to spend our lives on the curvy line, having one foot on each side of Yin and Yang.
The concept of Yin and Yang is based at a macro level, like the whole universe kind of macro level. Sometimes when we look at the micro events of our own lives things can seem unbalanced and unfair.
If this feels like the case then having the knowledge that all things eventually balance out can support us through chaotic times.
There is an unstoppable, constant change and the way things are one day will not be the same the next day. At its deepest level, this is in order to create harmony and balance of all things.
Embrace little moments of chaos, darkness and coldness. Without these the opposites would not exist but keep your other foot on those opposites as they have to still be around somewhere.
I may have my own 90's revival moment and bring back the Yin and Yang tattoo!
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