Saturday, March 01, 2008

Yin Yang

The Essential Nature of Yin and Yang

yin yang symbolThese visual attributes of the Taiqi (Yin Yang) Symbol are meant to remind the Daoist practitioner of the essential nature of Yin and Yang -- and, by extension, of all pairs of opposites. Rather than being distinct, fixed and/or rigid categories, Yin and Yang are mutually-supportive, mutually-arising, inter-dependent, and in constant motion. Each contains the essence of the other, and they are continuously transforming one-into-the-other. So, for instance: friends become enemies, and enemies become friends; summer becomes winter, and winter becomes summer; from the lowest of plains pushes up the highest of mountains, and the highest of mountains, over time, recede once again to flat plains; external action, taken to its extreme, transforms into quietude; and from the depths of stillness, movement quite naturally emerges.

Relaxing Into the Dance

To train in this kind of perception, Daoism teaches, is to become a bit more relaxed in relation to our conceptual frameworks, with the potential for not getting “stuck” in them. We come to know the manifest world as a kaleidoscope of patterns of change -- in constant motion -- and ourselves (also constantly changing) as part of this. So we can allow the pairs of opposites to appear, and to dance, without having an egoic investment in their particular shape or form.


If we are practitioners of Internal Alchemy, we invite an increasing intimacy between these pairs of opposites; finally allowing their interpenetration to be so complete that they dissolve one into the other: this is the “copulation” of Yin and Yang (or, in the language of Inner Alchemy, of the White Tiger and the Green Dragon) which – by dissolving the polarity of “self” and “other” – takes the practitioner back into the Mind of Dao, that primordial and ever-present Unity out of which the play of Yin and Yang originally emerges.

by Elizabeth Reninger


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