Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Yin / Yang


Yin and yang is very simple, really.

Just think in terms of expanding energy and contracting energy.

I know that if you are new to this, it still seems somewhat abstract. The best way to make it real is through examples. And this book will have lots of examples.

For now, just think about it a bit more.

Consider, for example, a tree.

A tree spreads upwards and outwards. Why does a tree grow this way? Why does it not simply remain inside a seed. Because it has expanding (yin) energy. There is an expanding force that makes it manifest itself upwards and outwards.

Consider, now, a grain of salt. It will never grow. Even in a million or trillion years, it will retain its shape and remain as it is. It will not even rot or disintegrate. There is some energy holding it together. This is contracting (yang) energy.

Well, you may say that a tree grows because it has life, whereas salt does not grow because it is lifeless. But then, why must life grow? Why can’t something stay alive without growing.

Actually, animals – and us humans – are like that. Animals grow – they expand – initially. But once they have reached a certain size, they stop growing. They stop expanding.

In terms of yin and yang, we say that plants have stronger expanding energy and so they keep growing and growing. Animals, compared to plants, have less expanding energy. So they grow only up to a point and then they stop.

When animals are compared with minerals, however, they still have greater expanding energy. They still grow (expand), whereas minerals don’t grow (expand) at all.

This tells us that:

  • Animals are less yin (expanding) / more yang (contracting) compared with plants
  • Animals are more yin (expanding) / less yang (contracting) compared with minerals.

This brings us to the next important point of understanding…

Everything is relative

Nothing is just yin or yang. It is always yin or yang in relation to something else. When we speak, we may speak this way. We may say, for example, that

  • “Plants are yin.”
  • “Animals are yang”.

The real meaning is:

  • “Plants are yin compared to animals.”
  • “Animals are yang compared to plants”.

Of course, it is not convenient to always speak this way. If we want to be absolutely accurate, we would have to say “Animals are yang compared to plants but they are yin compared to minerals.” Then our sentences become very convoluted. We end up speaking like lawyers!

So for the sake of simplicity, we make simple statements like “That man is very yang”. It really means “That man is very yang compared with most other men.”

Bear in mind, always, that everything is relative. Even the most yang person would be yin compared to, say, a tiger! Nothing is absolute.

Enough of theory for the moment. Let’s move on to some examples – lots of examples. This will help you see yin and yang in everything. It will help you get adjusted to your new magic spectacles.

Not good, not bad

Oh, by the way…

Yin and Yang / expansion and contraction is not about good or bad. Each has its own set of positive qualities and negative qualities.

What’s “good” or “bad” depends very much on you. If your present condition is overly yin / expanded, then it would be “good” to make yourself more yang / contracted. Likewise, if your present condition is overly yang / contracted, then it is “good” to make yourself more yin / expanded.

If anything, what’s good is BALANCE.

May Ling
Macrobiotics & natural health practitioner of Chinese decent. May Ling provides a Yin-Yang perspective to holistic health and natural healing. Contact:

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