Within eastern philosophy and medicin Yin and Yang are the two paramount energies that have to be balanced so that we can live a healthy life in balance. The words Yin and Yang represent the shadowy and the sunny sides of a hill and the concept has been around for about three thousand years. The duality between Yin and Yang can be seen in all parts of life, society and actually the whole world. There is this duality everwhere: dark and light, ice and fire, night and day, male and female, left and right and so on.
According to eastern philosophy Yang is the active energy and Yin is the passive energy and these two have to be in balance or things will go bad. If they are unbalanced a person might get sick or depressed and if we think about it, it makes perfect sence.
A life in balance
It is interesting to think about the fact that I have heard from so many people that they feel unbalanced, when they actually are not really thinking about what they are saying, they just have a feeling. That, to me, means we actually have this concept in the western world too, but we don’t think about it, it is not something we are consciously considering. So what can we do?
To live in balance we have to consider all parts of our lives, food, excercise, work, love, relationships etc. We have to figure out how much sleep we need, not only to have enough energy for work but also to have a rewarding leisure time. When it comes to food, we have a tendency to eat too much, which is probably because our bodies tell us to eat when food is available since just about a hundred years ago or so, people still could not be sure they would have food every day. So to stay balanced with food, we sort of have to fight our bodies or we will become overweight. The body also thinks sweet stuff is automatically good for us, but nowadays this is no longer true. We are consuming far too much refined sugar, which is causing weight gain and diabetes, so there too we have to find a balance. We should be as vigilant when we buy food and beverages as we are when we buy a new car, because a car we can trade for a new one, but our bodies are the only bodies we will have in this life.
In the west today we tend to work more and more, which has a very bad effect on our social life. When we work to much we have no energy left for friends and family, which in turn might lead to divorces and loneliness. Not so long ago it was a lot more common to do things together with friends, neighbors and family, such as organizing dance parties or women would come together and do handicraft or the men would build something together. I think that having these social meetings with others are crucial for our wellbeing and we should strive to get together with others more and maybe work a little less, to get that part of our lives in balance.
Love and relationships
It is easier said than done but in relationships, wether they are love relationships or relationships with family and friends, we have to make sure not to give more than we can afford. This seems a bit odd, but if we give more than we can afford, we do not have enough for ourselves and if we don’t have enough for ourselves we will be crushed if something happens. This does not mean that we should only focus on ourselves, because that will be wrong also. We will then be considered selfish which is not very balanced either.
To find balance in our relationships we should first learn to love ourselves in a healthy way. If we have a healthy love for ourselves we do not take from others, but we also do not let others take more from us than we want to give.
Unhealthy relationships are, for example, where we give and give to the point where we are exhausted and have no energy left. Stepping back and saying NO is something that many people have to learn, and if they don’t, they might actually get sick when their bodies say no for them!
For some people giving and giving is not done to be nice to others as much as to satisfy their own need to feel indispensable. It is also used as a way of controlling others through “guilt-tripping”. This is a very insidious type of selfishness and can be a disaster for the “victims” of the control. The only way to get out from under this is to realize what is going on and then drag it out into the open. The controller will not be happy, because mostly a person who does this thinks he or she is doing it to be good and is not aware of the harm they are causing. Unfortunately it is often to painful to accept what they have done, so they will refuse and try to get the control back, so staying away at least for a while might be the only opiton.
Yin and Yang
I know I have not mentioned Yin and Yang for a while, but if you consider the things I have written, you can see where they play a part in everything. I think that if we consider them in our daily lives we might be able to create real change, and I also think that when we have names for the two different sides of things, they are easier to balance. If we, for example, know that we give more than we are getting back, we can change. By changing our ways and balancing our lives we will be healthier and happier, and isn’t that what it’s all about?
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