Taoism: Yin and Yang

I like the Tao terms for the balance of “light” and “dark” energies: Yin and Yang. The balance of these energies is needed for a healthy body, mind and spirit.

“Yin and yang are the two essential and interdependent energies of life. Though opposite in nature, they are not experienced as diametrically opposed, but rather as complementary and relative to one another. … Yang is characterized as creative, assertive, positive, and light, while yin is receptive, yielding, negative, and dark. It is important to note that these attributes are only descriptive and do not carry any moral value.”

In the West we have come to value the gifts of Yang: reasoning, knowledge, leadership, happiness. The gifts of Yin are not so evident, but it is at this inner hearth where wisdom is cultivated. “Darkness” represents an openness to the unknown, and a willingness to entrust ourselves to the unknown in hope. Yin energy is also what is needed in order to grieve the losses in our lives.

“Receptivity”, another quality of Yin, is the ability to listen to another, to hear them on their own terms without judgement, an obvious need in interpersonal, community and global relations.

Spiritual practices for good mental health recognize the need for both Yin and Yang. What do I need today?