Everything in this universe is made of energy, a force that we refer to in Chinese traditions as qi, pronounced as “chi”. Qi can take on an infinite number of forms and is constantly changing. In order for energy to change there must be a high point and low point, this is the principle behind yin and yang. Yin and yang are often described metaphorically in terms of lunar and solar, dark and light, soft and hard, or cold and hot. They are the expression of polarities, and they demonstrate that opposing forces facilitate change. Absolutely everything in the universe is transforming all the time – including the universe itself – making change the essence of the cosmos.
However, yin and yang are not separate polarized forces, for without one, the other cannot exist. Yin and yang are interdependent and therefore cannot be separated – they are two sides of the same coin. After all, we could not have day without night, or hot without cold, and we only understand one in relationship to the other. Yin and yang show us how we can exist in a world that is simultaneously built of sameness and difference, and that we need to embrace them both to see clearly.
In our lives, we are sometimes lucky enough to open up and feel our connection to the infinite sea of existence within us and around us. People that have these experiences often describe a sense of peace, oneness, and clarity. But in the modern era, it can be very challenging to embrace our connection to something greater than the physical world, leaving many of us feeling isolated and unsure of the role we are intended to play. Contemporary western society has a tendency to lean towards an individualistic perspective as we have moved away from prioritizing community, and towards an ‘every person for themselves’ model. It is no surprise that in the 21st century our young people are reporting overwhelming levels of alienation, anxiety, and depression. After all, it is very hard to go it alone, when our togetherness is one of the ways to remember that we are inseparable from the vastness of the universe.
However, our experience of individualism is also important, because it can help us to understand our unique place and guide us on our life’s journey. We must learn to love and respect ourselves as a facet of something extraordinary. Each of us is a unique blend of yin and yang, synthesizing a vibration that makes us who we are. However, like the rest of the universe, we are not fixed in place, but instead are in a constant cycle of transformation. We cannot change where we come from, but we can choose our direction moving forward. We are all unique expressions of this universal force, and therefore each of us plays a role in changing the direction of the universe.
Written by Sijie Jessie Zsolt