Yin-Yang are the two primal forces controlling the whole of the universe according to Chinese philosophy. These terms are used when describing the nature or characteristic tendency of one thing with reference to another. Although it appears that these terms are used as nouns, in actuality, Yin-Yang are adjectives and do not refer to any concrete or existing thing; rather, the quality contained therein. Pure or absolute Yin or Yang is not possible for within Yin is the seed of Yang and conversely, within Yang is the seed of Yin. As such, they form two complementary, equally important, opposing forces, that together comprise the whole.
The concept is called yin yang, not yang yin, just because the former has a preferred pronunciation in Chinese. The word order has no cultural or philosophical meaning. The outer circle represents “everything” while the black and white shapes within the circle represent the interaction of two energies – “yin” (black) and “yang” (white) that together cause everything to happen. “Yin,” meaning “shady,” corresponds to night and dormancy. Yin is dark, passive, downward, cold, contracting and weak whereas “yang,” which means “sunny,” is bright, active, upward, hot, expanding and strong.
Aside from adding new information to one’s knowledge of trivia, what’s the point? Well, Yin-Yang is pertinent in at least two Chinese disciplines – Oriental medicine and Feng Shui. If the yin-yang forces in the body get unbalanced, then illness results. To ‘cure’ the affliction, one must provide the body with an adequate measure of the yin or yang aspect that is deficient. For example, a yin symptom such as coldness would be treated with yang treatments, such as hot foods. A yang symptom such as nervousness would be treated with yin treatments – cold foods such as fruits. And along this line, the macrobiotic diet, first popular in the late sixties and the seventies, is based on the division of food into their yin and yang properties. By reference to this classification, one could conceivably ‘cure’ oneself by adding the specific foods that balance the yin-yang properties of the deficient bodily system.
The same system of effecting balance is pertinent in Feng Shui. A too yang environment is disturbing and leads to the loss of peace and harmony. For example, a bedroom facing a noisy street can rob you of the quality rest you need. But a too yin area – say an office looking out onto a dark narrow alley – can cause you to become overly subdued and lethargic and can limit your energy and efficiency. An overly yin entrance to a residence – one that is hidden and dark – may not attract enough money or energy. The ‘cure’ for any of these problems involves adding more of the deficient yin or yang quality to ‘stabilize’ the environment.
Origins of Yin-Yang derive from Taoism, a religion widespread in China several hundred years before the Common Era. In Taoism, the Tao, loosely translated as “the Way” or “the Path,” is the origin of all things and the ultimate reality. According to Taoist teachings, the truth of the Tao can only be understood indirectly or through a process of enlightened living. This belief has no personal God. Where do the yin and yang come in? “Through the dynamics of yin and yang, the female and male cosmic principles, the Tao creates all phenomena. Whereas the Tao is perfectly harmonious, the cosmos is in a state of constant dis-equilibrium most easily explained and understood in terms of Yin Yang.” It is Yin/Yang that hold each other in balance and exert mutual control on the flow of life. In doing so, they provide for a manifest universe in perfect keeping with the world of magical, mystical experience.
Most forces in nature can be broken down into their respective yin and yang states which are usually in movement rather than held in absolute stasis:
What we can understand from Yin-Yang is that nothing should be rejected. There are no ‘bad’ things. Everything has some usefulness, depending on the appropriate conditions. When any aspect becomes dysfunctional, introduction of the corresponding Yin/Yang will rectify the situation.
If you cannot apply Yin-Yang principles on your own, and there are difficulties existing in your life or life-style, or if you are interested in Feng Shui and would like to confer with a Feng Shui consultant, please call our Concierge at 928-282-2085 for additional information.