One of the basic elements
of Chinese Philosophy and Oriental Medicine is the concept of
yin and yang (rhymes with 'song,' not 'sang'). These fundamental
opposites were first recorded in the I-Ching around 700 B.C. This
duality is a basic part of our experience as human beings. Early
in life we leave behind primary narcissism and realize that the
world consists of both us, and not-us. We also become aware of
other opposites. For example
We can also think of more day-to-day
examples such as
Walking along a busy street
Walking in the woods
It is safe to assume that, in our modern
American society, the more yin things you
can add to your life, the better you off you will be. Actually
a more yin thing to do might be to let some of your yang activities
Why are we so yang? Do you think our society
is more active or passive? More loud or soft? Do we reward each
other for listening well, or meditating? Do we encourage passivity?
No, we are much more yang than yin. We reward the loud, the aggressive,
the active individuals. Value-judgements aside, this emphasis
on yang has certain effects on us as individuals and as a society
What happens when we are too yang? When there is too much yang, there will result a deficiency of yin.
For example: If your car runs too hot (yang) for too long, its fluids(yin) are consumed.
Your car is left with a deficiency of yin (fluids). In this state
it is more likely that your car will become hot(yang) again with
even less exertion than before. What is the solution? Add more
yin(fluids). What is the cure? Don't run your car too hot(yang)
for too long again, but if you do, keep a closer watch on the
fluid(yin)-levels so that you can add more, sooner to avoid overheating
How can we live more wisely? If we are too active for too long we end up in a state of disease. We
get to a point where we cannot help running hot, because we have
lost our balance between action and inaction. We may even feel an aversion to the yin things that would restore our
balance because we have built up identities, both personal and
social, that reinforce our excessively yang natures. As painful
as change may be, we might forego future emotional and physical
disasters by injecting some yin into our lives. Spend some time
reading, praying, or meditating instead of watching TV in the
evening. Give your mind a rest. Take "yin" breaks during work.
Let eating be the only "yang" thing you do during meals.
||"Their bodies will remain light and strong.
Although they grow old in years, they will stay able-bodied
and vigorous and be capable of governing to great advantage.
For this reason the ancient sages did not rush into the affairs
of the world."
||- The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Medicin
But when do we really need more yang? There are individuals and situations that are yang deficient. Prolapse,
chronic diarrhea, sluggishness, and excess coldness may be signs
of deficient yang. Say, for example, we eat a meal of rich, heavy
foods. Mightn't we drink some coffee (a very yang substance) to
push us through the resultant sluggishness? Of course, eventually
we may come to understand the negative consequences of both rich
foods and coffee and give them up, but until then we have a yang
deficient problem and a yang solution. Other situations such as
depression can be a deficiency of the yang element. The yang quality
of movement may be necessary to restore health, but often the
lack of movement is due also to a lack of yin, because..
Yin and Yang are interdependent. Without space(yin), there would be nowhere for time(yang) to happen.
Without air(yin) the action of a propeller(yang) would have no
effect. Without a listener(yin) there would be no point to speaking(yang).
Without blood(yin), qi cannot move(yang). Without water(yin),
there is no bubbling(yang) brook
What about Ginseng? Who hasn't felt tired?
How many people drink coffee in the morning to get up and go?
Sometimes we feel a sense of fear that we don't have enough to
keep up. Maybe we wonder if we are enough to keep up.
These are some reasons to seek a yang substance like as coffee,
or Ginseng. The public has not been fully informed
about Ginseng, however, and it is important that they understand
that it is not beneficial for all people and all situations.
Read more about Ginseng