Yin & Yang. Fundamental principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Giant books have been written about yin & yang. Essentially, yin & yang are the dark and the light. They need to be balanced.
A few things about this principle of yin & yang will help you to understand why I get so miffed by philosophy that expounds the virtue of ONLY happiness. Its weird. If you are ONLY happy, or if ONLY happiness were virtuous, how would you even know when you were happy? In fact, if you were “only” radically happy in an extreme manner you might soon be miserable because other valid emotions and energies are not being expressed in daily life.
In the theory and practice of yin & yang, the two energies should be balanced. Dark & Light. Hard & Soft. Loud & Quiet. The circle is not all white or all black. We have as much light as dark, and hopefully not too much of either one.
The other cool thing about yin and yang is that they contain each other within themselves. Trippy concept, I know, but think of it this way, ” There is light in darkness” and, “There is darkness in light.” The sun is always shining somewhere. Its also always night somewhere.
Why am I saying all of this? Because: yin & yang teaches that you don’t need to “disavow” parts of yourself to be healthy or whole. While I don’t advocate self-destruction, I certainly know “healers” who like a good cocktail from time to time, I know virtuous religious teachers who get angry, who smoke cigarettes at times, who brood… No one has to be beaming sunshine 24-7, or denying themselves harmless guilty pleasures, random socializing, or the ability to make a few mistakes… Being “dark” is not a goal, but accepting that dark is a part of life (a part you don’t need to drown in, but you can acknowledge it), is a part of being balanced.
I feel that many people on the quest to change their lives get so hung up on the “must be bright & shiny 24-7” idea and get so hung up on doing the “right” thing that a life with real freedom and dynamism becomes impossibly hard and disappointing. Why not just decide to be more light than dark, make peace with the past and keep moving forward. There’s plenty of dark in the world to tempt us all, so might as well focus on generating more light and doing the best we can?!
Balance… its actually fun!
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Always, I love hearing from you! xoxo Dana