“Okay, yeah, I’ve heard of this yin and yang thing…it’s that strange black and white swirly symbol, right?”
“Ying and Yang, you mean?”
“Uh, no, never heard of them…”
Whether you have heard of Yin and Yang or not is not important, but that they exist in every facet of your life is important, and more to the point, you have a large amount of control over how they impact you. These two concepts that we borrow from the Chinese philosophy known as Taoism (pron “Dow-ism”) go hand-in-hand to describe a great number of systems with which we humans interact.
Yin and Yang represent two opposite ideas such as cold and hot, wet and dry, black and white, less and more, light and heavy, etc. I propose to you that the versions of Yin and Yang that may describe our individual lives are generally controllable, and beneficial if we can control them appropriately. The ways that we feel, eat, act, and live we generally have control over. Excesses and deficiencies in these areas are what drive us to feel good or bad, behave appropriately or not, and perform well or not well.
Food and drink are a prime example. While periodic over- or under-eating is not going to greatly affect us, consistently eating too much of some foods and not enough of others may, if our body is unable to withstand that activity over a long period, adversely affect us. We have learned that drinking too much alcoholic beverage over many years can lead to weight gain, systemic diseases, or even death. We are now learning how eating too much meat, sweets or grains over time can lead to health complications. And while coffee and tea have driven civilization forward over the past several hundred years, increased caffeine intake over many years can exacerbate various health conditions.
In studying Tai Chi, we learn that a constant interplay of changing balance from one side to the other, from Yin to Yang, helps us move forward on generally an even keel. Your life can similarly have an even keel, moving forward without running into major problems, if you learn how to maintain an adequate level of exercise, learn to hydrate your body consistently with the correct liquids, and seek to maintain a more calm or less caustic personality such that our interpersonal relations do not stress us out.
Can you now see this interplay of Yin and Yang in your life? What in your life could you do more of, or less of, to seek to regain your balance going forward?