Lets sort this out, what are “yin” and “yang”?

“Yin and yang” – I talk about them such a lot but what are they in our everyday lives, beyond some abstract idea or a symbol we see daubed on the side of camper vans and on people’s tattoed flesh? Well yes, they are very “real”aspects of human existence; pivotal, in fact, to where we are in our evolution and yet how many of us have a clue what these things really are? As  phrases such as “the masculine” and “the feminine” become increasingly fashionable parlance in our world, it strikes me that many of us are  still no clearer what it is we refer to (this has nothing to do with gender) and even I find myself stumped to adequately do justice to the topic when put on the spot though I feel like I have very real, relatable experience of both yin and yang, which is why I am making them the topic of so much of my writing. Both abstract yet utterly fundamental to our very existence  – is this the nature of the beast, are we really confused into not knowing ourselves to this degree? So, while confusion reigns or we treat them as some sort of weird spiritual concept with no applicable meaning in our lives, how do we get any closer to using what we understand about yin and yang to recalibrate our experience of the human condition? This is really important stuff we are so studiously side-stepping or being so flippant about and I want to take a deeper dive into what it is that I have come to know about these very different aspects of our reality play out together.

There at the heart of that sentence is the very “issue” we have at hand; this tendency to see them as divided, as black and white, or Venus and Mars…you get the idea but is that really the case? The way we talk about them, you would think Yin and Yang were some sort of cartoon couple presenting for marriage counselling. Some of us tend to regard the “yin” or the feminine as the heart and the “yang” as the mind….just another way of looking at it…but it took a friend to suggest to me that it was actually the other way around (and me to bristle with all the uncomfortable feelings of what felt like a territorial invasion) for me to notice how neither perspective is strictly “correct” so why the hot-under-the collar reaction that rose up in me? This “competitive edge” feels like the very problem that underpins the current stand-off between two so-called divergent ways of looking at the world; flagging up how off-target we have got since they are not meant to be in conflict at all, in fact they are so deeply woven INTO one another that they are irrevocable tied to each other’s fate (this is what we have so far missed…which is what has been the “downfall” of humanity thus far). When we suppress either the masculine OR the feminine, the black or the white, the east or the west, the logical or the spiritual (you get the idea….) we all stand to lose out; there is no choice to be made. The wholeness to which we are heading, evolutionarily speaking, requires that we really start to get this in some extremely practical ways and at all levels of our lives!

yin_yang-svgSo lets get to it by summoning a more practical visual in our mind’s eye. For a prop, conjure up the familiar yin-yang symbol. The yin/feminine is considered to be the “black” part of this and the yang/masculine the “white”; and this derives from the idea that the yang is “light” and yin “shadow” (a concept which goes all the way back to ancient culture…and that’s not just a Chinese idea since all of our ancestors seem to have had a version of this symbol and its associated meaning). This is one of the areas where we have got ourselves all ravelled up in recent times since people confuse shadow with “bad” or regard earth as somehow “less than” sun; missing the point that without something “other” than unlimited light we would have no experiences at all but would remain as one with source. On the premise we chose to have an experience of something, earth is that very thing from which all of our tangible human experiences derive or are birthed (like a seed from the soil, child from the womb…) and any artist knows that a painting is nothing without its dark spaces, its contrasts without which it would be impossible to create anything of definition. Our very creativity as human beings – which is source getting to express and thus know itself in form – derives from the ability to dip our brushes in that shadow, making outlines with our “brush”, so that we get to choose the void spaces that we want to be held within those lines; which is yin in a nutshell. More on that later.

So, first notice the complementary dot or circle in each half. This is absolutely key and occurs at every level of life, from the way energy plays out in our human bodies to the way the world and even the universe organises itself (yes, as described by Prof. Carl Calleman in his book “The Nine Waves of Creation” even the universe is organised according to the masculine and feminine divide…..) But then, this is not a system of one versus the other and  it is crucial to note that each of these aspects incorporates an expression of the other within itself….like those circles on the symbol above.

In other words, without the “white” circle inside the “black” portion of the symbol, we do not have the yin and without the “black” circle inside the white symbol we do not have the yang. Each of them are both black and white, not either-or. It is the composite  of both that is just so important and yet it is the very factor that seems to get overlooked or down-played all the time, possibly because we have been entrained to be so adverse to the concepts of “darkness” or “shadow” that we try to pretend it’s not there, seeing only light.

yinLets look at it in ways with which we are more familiar; in terms of our actual life experiences. The yin could be said to be the heart as “love” (I’m not talking about the physical organ), held within the human body which is the tangible structure that “creates shadows” and which defines our edges as this person or that person (you could say, a “black” outline shape with a white “heart” circle lit-up inside). Love itself is like a white void…not in the sense of being empty but of being fundamentally undefined, unconditional and universal to us all. This is the level at which we all connect with one another, regardless of all the trimmings of life. Our physicality serves as a “hard” supportive vessel to the ephemeral “heart”, like a chalice that supports something so fluid that, without its sides, it would disappear into the vast sea of everything; so, put together, they become our holy grail, you could say (which is why our out-of-balance culture has developed such a strong sense of seeking that grail like something we have mislaid). A distortion of that is when we can only see our light in the dark; thus we keep generating dark structures/circumstances in which to hold up our candle flame; which has fed our history much more than we probably yet own.

yangWhen we make our humanness central to our experience rather than the heart; like a solid backbone structure to everything we know, the softness of our experiences gather on the outside of that and so we – potentially – get to look out upon a vast unlimited reality from a sort-of anchor point of human perspective, which offers us such a great deal of material with which to play, not to mention a feeling of security since we become attached to the feelings of familiarity and control that come with the turf. This attachment can morph into our biggest problem and the whole paradigm of such an experience can turn into a monstrous stronghold that we defend like a fortresses lest anybody should come and knock a hole in what we think we know and “own”. We can get carried away with ideas of the mind and a sort-of addiction to how powerful we think these make us at the centre of our own universe, ceasing to see anything else. When this happens, evolution is seemingly halted in its tracks (or at least, its breaks are slammed on though it can never be fully interfered with). In its most divine expression, the yang perspective of experience was always meant to serve us with the most creative potential imaginable; a whole universe with which to play freely, using the inventiveness of our minds…and yet the overriding impulse to strength and control what we think we know has, so-far, insisted upon bolstering what is human and denying all else. This is the yang in its most distorted and counter-evolutionary form and is the era of our history that we are just emerging from.

Neither yin or yang perspetcives are “wrong” or less-than although their distortions, when either of them get out of balance, can create systemic problems at all levels of human experience. It’s when we put the two together as one balanced unit that we get to realise the wholeness that is our destiny; now realizable as never before in the whole of our human history.

Where we have been before in that history has tended to emphasise one “side” at the expense of the other. We have had our matriarchal perspectives before (and they have been reasserting themselves again recently) where it was all about this expansive soft experience with the little human within that infinite scheme, regarded as smaller by far than this endless sea of connectivity linking all life together as one giant organism of barely tangible energy. Yet within that scheme, there was a real power to being human, albeit the kind of power that was unfathomable, unmeasurable…we somwhow knew what we were in the great scheme of things without the words or hard-edged concepts to describe ourselves. Then the scales tipped and the masculine asserted, turning everything inside out. The desire to label and decipher, to own, predict and control, to expand and compete for more….all these urges grew out of the masculine. This territorial expansion of “what we believed ourselves to be” was at once empowering in that we now claimed to be (and thus acted as) the masters of our universe and yet it was also deadly limiting since we became the inmates of our own mental prison cell. Our whole world was suddenly limited to the capacity of the human mind, which only knows what it has experienced before. Without empirical evidence or “proof”, nothing could truly exist and so we were condemned to live life in endless circles, seldom spiralling out of our own dire circumstance since we could only manifest what was predictable, based on what history had shown us. While very small lip service has been given to our more imaginative, intuitive viewpoints (things we envision or know without knowing how we know them…), these have largely been out of favour for a very long time now. No one really takes those other “wacko” perspectives seriously to this day; which is the fault of our current paradigm.

In the human body, the territorial urge of the yang – to keep creating things and making them manifest in solid form, at the cellular level – can backfire in a world out of balance, expressing as the kind of disease that chooses the very tangible materials of lymph, organ and bone as its building blocks; including to create cancer. Cells backfire or get greedy, hard-shelled barriers are built and suddenly we have some of the most deadly illnesses of our time which…through our determination to fight them, which is only to push back against them with more of the very energy that they are an expression of…we create endless wars that really have no victor in the end.

Conversely, when the yin backfires in human form, she chooses the most ephemeral means of expression that she can; which, in the human body, such as fluid or, better still, electrical impulses…the realms of tissue inflammation and then leading into the domain of the central nervous system where chaotic signals can be fired across large distances in no time at all, creating havoc on a very broad scale. This allows the yin impulse to play out as “flow” in action; made manifest as us, using the most cobwebby structures that we have at our disposal in order to move swiftly from one area of the body to the next whilst constantly evading being pinned down, diagnosed or labelled. Really, the level at which this all happening is quantum; the level where thoughts drive cells, which is why healing modalities that make use of that quantum level of existence, not to mention meditation and mindfulness, are far more potent than pills in this area

The gift arrives in either of these situations as soon as we realise that both the yin and the yang have a place in our biology and, when they over-express in either of these ways, it is because they have so-far been denied proper expression in ways that would manifest as homeostasis in the body. In ways both subtle and overt (could even be deeply buried in our subconscious) we have omitted to include them in some way or other and so balance is being asserted for us; through us…as cells that speak our truth for us, until we notice. Perhaps now more than ever, this systemic rebalancing act will assert itself through the biology of people that are most in need of this timely mission to reclaim their wholeness just as we all do this together on a global level. I say this from the personal stance of having watched such a recalibration play out in my own cells over the last 16 years and beyond.

In other words, when the extreme expression of either yin or yang reaches its tipping point in our system, the in-built antidote to that extremism arrives as its very opposite flowing at its heart; the circle within the symbol, that we might see it more clearly. Like the antidote that grows close to the “poison”, so our own answer lies inbuilt within us and, when it first starts to manifest, it often seems chaotic, destructive and like the very opposite of what we are all about (like a “stranger” or enemy in our own camp)….since it is that very opposite; necessarily so. This is how the yin or the yang (whichever is most called for, in order to recalibrate) expresses itself in counterpoise with what was too-loudly having its say before that.

So, in our era of entrenched science arrives the quantum perspective to blow all empirical theory apart and in the hardness of our cancers, did we but know it (I have a friend working with this very thing) we find the loving perspective that was at the heart of the very reason this thing started to grow in us….for all it really wanted was the opportunity to experience the unleashed creativity that so many of us have written out of the story of our lives. I strongly suspect that understanding this “creative” and “loving” aspect of cancer is an in-road to cancer prevention and treatment that will be explored in the future; as we start to really work with the connection between our suppressed emotions and desires as made manifest in the cells of the body.

Likewise, in time, that aspect of yin that feels suppressed and unheard, that longs to find voice, that has no place in the world as we have currently made it since a world based on “proof” gives no credence to that which “just knows”, that is innate; that aspect will find other means to express than through the misfiring cells of the planet or the human body. Once we allow this aspect to “talk” and be listened to, there will be no need for the most unfathomable expressions of our planet or of our human spirit, which is currently wailing in the frustration and pain of being ignored. We will hear Gaia’s cries as sensitively as we currently drill and manipulate and suppress her living systems as though we own them; and in our human beings (whether male or female) we will encourage and reward expression of that which is without label, currency or proof as equally as we currently give credence to what we think we know “as concrete” from the machinations of our logical mind.

So, going back to my original point, the yin is neither the heart nor the mind but the heart WITHIN the structure of the physical human body, the white dot of light within the “dark” space (you could say shadow…in the sense that anything that is made of structure creates shadow when stood in the path of the light). So, the yin is not the shadow so much as the shadow that includes the light within; making that light possible, “black and white” together as one. The heart-flame is like a candle that lights up that space from within…and yet, without the dark, there would be no contrast to show up that light since there would be light everywhere. I have come to experience this most viscerally through the journey of my health; the dark path of which has shown up so many lights that I might not otherwise have come to experience. The fact this journey coincided with the activation of the Eighth Wave in our evolution process (I refer you once again to Prof. Calleman’s book “The Nine Waves of Creation“) is no coincidence to me; telling me that the yin – consisting of both darkness and light together – was in full expression-mode for me during those years, bringing me back to wholeness. There is a space within that yin where all things are already known and fully reconciled, even while the physical shell of “not knowing” and utter confusion seems to surround it and this place is where the most profound healing has taken place, for me, in recent years.

Conversely, the yang is not the mind per se but the mind within the context of a spiritual, ephemeral, impossible-to-pin-down universe that will continue to elude that ever-seeking mind for as long as there is electricity sparking through its neurology (“black within white”, both together, in the opposite configuration to yin). The human condition, at once, separates the human mind from truly ever “knowing all” while providing all the great incentives for that mind to keep seeking and longing to know. And so, within the context of a broader spiritual awareness (not closed off in some sort of empirical nightmare where proof is everything…), the open mind becomes “source seeking to know itself”, which is the very pivot-point (such as we can ever truly understand what the point of life is…) of life.

When we put these two aspects together (that inquisitive open mind fuelled by the incentive of all that it can see in the light of day and the tender torchlight of the heart that shines unconditionally in all circumstances including darkness), we have the yin and yang in perfect partnership; neither truly complete without the other. Perhaps once we stop insisting on such a hard definition between what is “light” and “dark” in our experiences we will start to heal what feels most unhealable in our world. Try insisting to those who take a stance about cancer that the motivation of those cells is a love of creativity longing to make itself manifest in form and watch the typical reaction of incredulity and even anger that unfolds (my friend with cancer deals with this almost every day). We are so entrenched, even in these areas where we consider ourselves so enlightened and, until we stop taking sides and fighting what we think we know at these levels, the struggle of life will continue to play out in the most unbridled way. When we allow the most brittle, obstructive, nonnegotiable structures of our world to be seen as creative love in action (at some level of their motivation), they are received back as love and so their hard walls dissolve into light. When this happens, we are left with their core motivation (no longer walled in) which is the darkly defined circle in a sea of universal light; a desire to be here, to manifest as something, to create what hasn’t been created before in a sea of all potential. When we bear witness to this desire to create, we get to channel it into other pursuits of our chosing; creative activities that uplift us and others around us and no longer require our cells to aggressively misfire and entrench their way into being. The same could be said of our world at large…

Likewise, so many people are in resistance to giving form and expression to the most ephemeral ideas that they cradle in their heart; holding them secretly or even fearfully to their chest yet much too guarded and bashful to say them where they will be heard in a world that feels judgemental and obsessed with “proof” and “credentials”. Say them or find some means of expressing them, I urge you; or they WILL express in other ways and, ultimately, through the most bizarrely ephemeral, impossible to pin-down health conditions that will keep you entrenched in so much confusion you will feel like you are losing your mind. This is the body’s way of insisting that you take what is intangible, undiagnosed and, often, not given any credence by others your full and serious attention; more so than anything you previously thought you knew with your mind. It becomes a training ground for making the yin an equal partner in your experience range; until you know the ropes and can extend that practice to all aspects of your life. If words elude you, give this desire to express the inexpressible some paint to play with (as I did) and then let that confidence lead you to where you do, finally, dare to give them words and watch how your life (and the lives of those around you, encouraged by how you lead the way…) begins to blossom. Most of all, let it express as you; as love. This is the flower of the yin opening up from the heart, a process that only starts with the dark soil that feeds its roots.

This post is, itself, such an expression of what some might consider impossibly abstract and without demonstrable substance and yet the gifts keep arriving from my growing courage to say outloud what others might pass by as the deluded machinations of a rambling mind that thinks it sees well beyond the mind’s limitations. Those gifts include the growing number of people that make contact to share their resonance and the many ways that these perspectives are impacting their lives in some very tangible ways. Here is one of the first clues that a great rebalancing is presently underway; that more and more people are prepared to consider experiencing life without the filter of seeing it all one way or the other, entrenched in ideas of right and wrong, black and white, proven or no. This inevitably leads to the kind of wholeness that  our world very-much needs at this evolutionary juncture; and it all starts with us.


About Helen White

Helen White is a professional artist and published writer with two primary blogs to her name. Her themes pivot around health and wellbeing, expanded consciousness and ways of noticing how life is a constant dance between the deeply subjective and the collective-universal, all of which she explores with a daily hunger to get to know herself better. Her blog Living Whole shines a light on living with high sensitivity, dealing with trauma and healing from chronic health issues. Spinning the Light is an extremely broad-based platform where she elucidates the everyday alchemy of relentless self-exploration. A lifetime of "feeling like an outsider" slowly emerged as neurodivergence (being a Highly Sensitive Person with ADHD, synaesthesia, sensory processing challenges and other defecits overlapping with giftedness). All of these topics are covered in her blogs, written from two distinct vantage points so, if you have enjoyed one of them, you may wish to explore the other for a different, yet entirely complimentary, perspective.
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1 Response to Lets sort this out, what are “yin” and “yang”?

  1. Pingback: Going quantum | spinning the light

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