5 Secrets to Understanding the laws of Yin and Yang in order to Achieve Emotional Balance
By Lori Anne Bryant
#1 The OPPOSITION of Yin & Yang
EVERYTHING exists because of the opposition of yin and yang. You cannot have left without right or an up without a down. You cannot know sadness unless you also know happiness. Yin and Yang are in a constant dynamic change that is all relative to the other. One thing can never be either completely yin or yang in nature because it depends on its other.
For example if you consider a light bulb that has an electrical charge, the lit bulb itself could be considered yang in nature due to the physical yang energy running through it however that same light bulb could be considered yin when there is no generation of energy coursing within in. The light bulbs quality depends on whether or not there is a physical stimulation to it. In the same respect if you consider two of the exact same light bulbs yet one dimmer than the other, the light bulb that is brighter would be considered more yang than its partner and vice versa since the brighter the light the more yang it is and the softer the light the more yin it is.
With this in mind, when it comes to your own emotional stability it is important to understand this notion. It is human nature to experience a range of emotions, each having opposites so to speak. According to theory, the heart is associated with joy, the liver with anger/irritability, the spleen with pensiveness/overthinking/worry, the kidney with fear, the lung with sadness/grief and the gallbladder with courage. When there is an imbalance in any one emotion it can have an affect on the way the body functions physiologically and vice versa if there is a dysfunction in an organ system. Therefore it is ideal to keep our emotions in check in order to maintain optimal health. Which contrary to some thought also includes a healthy dose of emotions such as anger, sadness, and fear. Those pesky emotions that we often try to evade from our learned cultural perceptions are a necessary aspect of human nature. It is natural and healthy to experience the emotions of both sadness and joy on opposite ends of a spectrum for example. If this were not the case how could we truly ever have the appreciation for joy if we did not all know the sorrow of sadness. When we learn to experience ALL emotion with wonder and appreciation we can learn to have a healthier relationship with said emotions. If we have fewer attachments to our emotions we can also allow ourselves to move through emotions more eloquently, feeling them fully, processing them and then letting them go. All well knowing that they were never fully ours to own to begin with.
Let yourself flow through the inevitable opposition of emotions and you will reap the benefits of a healthy relationship with all variances with appreciation for the growth that comes from being human.
#2 The INTERDEPENDENCE of Yin & Yang
Neither can exist without the other. Just as mentioned above, it is impossible to have one without the other because they can never be completely separated. EVERYTHING has both yin and yang. Each thing has its own complexities and ranges of yin and yang yet they are still connected. As humans, this is especially true.
When it comes to balancing our emotions we also need to understand that sometimes we will want to express our emotions loud and clear by any means (in a yang way) and sometimes we will want to sit back and feel them quietly and reclusively (in a yin way). One is not better than the other as long as there is a healthy expression of both. If you are only expressing boisterously you might not always have the time to ponder the “who, what, when, where, how” of your emotions and thus you may always associate your emotions as being circumstantial or not of oneself. On the flipside if you are always internalizing or bottling your emotions there is the potential of creating an unhealthy stewing and or internally blaming of sorts.
It is ideal to learn when is the time to express emotions appropriately (keeping in mind that this could include yelling and screaming if the situation calls for it) yet also quietly process and heal from such emotions without allowing them to attach to us. I refrain to the phrase of feeling your emotions without feeding your emotions.
#3 The INTER-CONSUMING, INTER-SUPPORTING of Yin & Yang
Nothing is ever fixed. Everything is always changing and flowing together. Yin and Yang have the remarkable ability to support one another but in the same token can destroy each other. This is the beautiful thing about the concept of these two connected yet opposing energies. When we understand that there will always be ebb and flow of yin and yang it can help us to connect deeper to the idea that EVERYTHING is always in flux. Just like a wave moving back and forth our lives, our physiology, our world is always moving and evolving. If we stop moving, we are no longer evolving and if we stop evolving than we are either just barely existing or we are dead. These are harsh words but it is reality. We need to support our movement and appreciate that nothing is every completely fixed.
With emotion it’s handy to know that we are never stuck in one feeling. We don’t have to be lost in depression for example because our systems naturally wants to ebb and flow. It is in our best interest not to fixate. When we do, it wreaks havoc in our mind and bodies and leads to more and more imbalance from the lack of movement and it becomes a vicious cycle. Therefore it is possible to let this naturally occurring innate movement to find its rhythm and flow. When you feel yourself getting stuck think about things you could do that could break you out of the cycle. If you are depressed for example, you could hang out with children, their love and innocence might surely lift your spirits. Do anything that will help your body to regain the balance it seeks so that it can break free of any stagnancy that gets in its way because this is what naturally is meant to happen.
Let your emotions find continual movement and growth.
#4 The INTER-TRANSFORMING relationship of Yin & Yang
It is also important to recognize that one can very easily become the other, even in an instant. Just like the example of the light bulb. When it has electricity it can be yang and with a flick of a switch it can be yin.
Consider what happens in the calm before a storm. It can be a beautiful sunny day and then all of a sudden out of nowhere the wind picks up and mother nature unloads her furry only to have the sun shinning again perhaps even a short time after. We also see this in children, one moment they are happy the next they have a wild fever.
It is good to know this when it comes to both in our understanding of our own emotions but also in our watching of other people’s emotions. Sometimes people will express their feelings violently on us, whether appropriate or not so it’s ideal to appreciate that those emotions will likely transform rather quickly into perhaps emotions of shame or sadness. Nothing is ever absolute and it is inevitable that EVERYTHING can change from yin to yang and yang to yin.
A good example is thinking of someone who is both laughing and crying at the same time. We have all been there in this perplexing state of varied emotions wondering how it is possible but this is another beautiful element of all things.
When things come up, feel them, really truly feel it and then let it go.
#5 The INFINITE DIVISIBILITY of Yin & Yang
Yin and Yang are NEVER absolute so it is always possible to subdivide it infinitely. We can see this in everything; even in the darkest room there is still always a small amount of light. Just as you cannot pick apart yang from yin there will always be an ability to break down anything as yang or yin again and again indefinitely.
In this way, you can never identify one emotion as being solely yin or yang. It depends on the situation and its relativity to another. This is likely the hardest concept of the 5 to understand however it defines that there is always one thing in the other. There is always joy within sadness and sadness within joy. It may seem strange and impossible but if you let yourself sit with the concept you can ascertain this idea that when we are in a state of joy
there is the inevitable knowing that it will not last forever (as it shouldn’t) which brings with it an element of sadness. Or there is the concept of knowing that although you are in a state of joy there are many in the world that are not which could also lead to a sense of grief in your joy even if you are not aware of these things on the surface. As I have mentioned above it is still all relative but it is good to understand these concepts for our healthy consumption of emotion.
When we can be aware of the processes of feeling and releasing and further understanding that our emotions are not ours but something instead that we experience we are less likely to get stuck in any one emotion that can ultimately lead into unhealthy processing in our organ functioning and further lead to illness.
Emotional stability leads to balance in health and it is something that can be achieved even with just a little awareness of how everything relates, moves and flows. Watch your emotions; see how they move you and others. Watch the emotions of those around you and how they affect you and other people. You will be amazed about how much you can learn with just this simple recognition and how much you can affect your health and the health of those around you by having a nurturing relationship with your emotions. Why not give it a try?
Maciocia, G. (2005). The Foundations of Chinese Medicine (second ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone.
Deadman, P., Al-Khafaji, M., & Baker, K. (2001). A Manual Of Acupuncture. East Essex, England: Jornal of Chinese Medicine Publications.