As soon as Dharma arrived this morning I ushered him to the breakfast table and poured his tea. As I served up his morning meal, I asked him, "Is it true that my lesson this week is on yin and yang?" Dharma sipped his tea slowly and took a bite of food, before responding. "Yes, Irwin, it's true. News does travel fast here in Lily Pad. Why are you so eager to learn more on this subject?" Well, Sir, eastern philosophies have always interested me and I suspect that what I know about yin and yang is but a fraction of their meaning and value." "You may be right, Tadpole, for the meaning of yin and yang, are complex but are still very relevant to the modern world we live in. Whatever a frog sees, Irwin, whomever he meets, and whatever he does...everything has two sides. It depends on him which one he sees; black or white, yin or yang." And so my lesson began.
"Yin and yang, my boy, is a complex, relational concept in Chinese culture that has developed over thousands of years. Briefly put, the meaning of yin and yang is that the universe is governed by a cosmic duality, sets of two opposing and complementing principles or cosmic energies that can be observed in nature. I could speak on this for days and not cover the entire topic. But I can condense it and give you a few of the key takeaways if you'd like." "I nodded, "Yes, sir, please."
1. The yin-yang philosophy says that the universe is composed of competing and complementary forces of dark and light, sun and moon, male and female.
2. The philosophy is at least 3,500 years old, discussed in the ninth-century BCE text known as the I Ching or Book of Changes, and influencing the philosophies of Taoism and Confucianism.
3. The yin-yang symbol is related to the ancient method used to track the movements of the sun, moon, and stars around the year.
4. Generally speaking, yin is characterized as inward energy that is feminine, still, dark, and negative. On the other hand, yang is characterized as outward energy, masculine, hot, bright, and positive.
Dharma explained that yin and yang are not static, nor are they mutually exclusive. "While the world is composed of many different, sometimes opposing, forces, these forces still coexist and even complement each other. Sometimes, forces opposite in nature even rely on one another to exist. The nature of yin-yang lies in the interchange and interplay of the two components. The alternation of day and night is just such an example. There cannot be a shadow without light. The balance of yin and yang is important. If yin is stronger, yang will be weaker, and vice versa. Yin and yang can interchange under certain conditions so that they are usually not yin and yang alone. In other words, yin elements can contain certain parts of yang, and yang can have some components of yin. In eastern medicine, it is believed that to be healthy, one needs to balance the yin and yang forces within one's own body.
This balance of yin and yang is perceived to exist in everything. I'm sure you've experienced this in yourself and especially in your human friends." He's right. as always. I have seen this and I know that when yin and yang are out of balance frogs, and humans particularly, run into problems. I asked Dharma if he could explain how yin and yang play into our everyday lives and if there was a way that we actively work to keep them in balance.
Simply put, humans (and all living creatures) have a certain amount of energy to spend each day. Some of us require more sleep than others, for example. In the end, it boils down how we want to use our energy supply each day. Focusing on one activity can certainly make us an expert in it, but it can come at the cost of other things, like relationships. The same is true of the bad stuff, like hate. When too much time and energy is focused on not getting along, then there isn't enough energy to do good things in life. So while there shouldn't be any room in life for hate at all, the rest of it boils down to life being a balancing act. If you are feeling a little out-of-balance these days, join the club. But Dharma to the rescue! Here are a few of his top tips for re-balancing life and health.
!. Eliminate as much processed food from your diet as possible. "Our ancestors believed that we were, quite literally, what we ate." And they weren't far wrong. If we eat junk, we get junk back, ie. bodies and minds that don't operate efficiently or effectively.
2. Make your living spaces at home and at work more harmonious. If your space it dark and heavy, chances are your mood will be, too. Lighten up and brighten up. Add some green to your space with plants. A tabletop water fountain can help with relaxation. Adding elements from nature can really be beneficial to our physical and emotional wellbeing.
3. Get your finances in order and put a little money aside. feeling in control of your financial resources can go a long way to improving your peace of mind. And peace of mind means a balanced a more balanced mind.
4. Exercise, You needn't become a gym rat or anything, just do some muscle-strengthening exercises. Muscle strength improves your metabolism rate. And cut back on your indulgences, whatever they are. Keeping yourself in balance is about moderation in all things. And, lastly,
5. Socialize. And that doesn't mean sending a text or posting something on social media. Dharma is talking about real human interaction. And spend time outside in nature, while you're at it, Too much time online and/or indoors is one of today's leading causes of
We're probably all guilty of doing some of these things. I know that I spend too much time online reading and researching. To get myself more in balance, I am vowing here and now to see more of my friends and family. How will you balance your yin and yang?
Dharma left me with much to think about. But now that breakfast is over and he's hopped off to see his next student, I will clean up my kitchen, then go for a nice long leisurely swim.
Please come back tomorrow when I'll give you a few tips on how to help out anyone you know who might be feeling lonely; tomorrow is, after all, National Cheer Up The Lonely Day. Until we meet again, I wish you