What does it mean to live a life of balance?
When defining something, it can help to first compare it with its opposite. Luckily, our current environment is so out of balance that it is flush with opportunities for comparison. Everywhere you look there is dissonance, chaos and tumult. The weather is erratic, our Congress is comparable to Kindergarteners that need a nap, and politics has turned into a new religion. Many people are struggling with crime and homelessness, yet prosperity is at an all-time high. We celebrate raunch, aggression and those least equipped to do anything except make money and convince others do try to do the same.
This level of imbalance is unnatural. It has grown exponentially as humans have learned the technology to shield themselves from dealing with reality. Our fear of change has driven us to a desire for a plastic world, one where things stay the same or at least give us the veneer of sameness and comfort. We have essentially become the dad from the Lego movie with our gallons of super glue to paste things into place forever.
This environment, because it is unnatural, hurts our souls and makes us weaker every day. Humans are struggling to survive, searching for safety and seeking belonging, with little to show for their attempt. We all feel something is wrong, but feel powerless to stop it.
Starting the Journey
But take heart, for there is still hope. We do in fact have the power to bring our world back into balance. How? By starting with our own lives.
To bring ourselves back into balance we must:
- Let go of the things that our mind thinks we want
- Learn more about thing things that our soul needs
- Grow more resilient so we can handle changes as the come. Learn to ride the wave rather than get swept away with the current
Learning to balance our energy is one way we can start achieving these goals. This means discovering our own rhythm – the dance that happens within us as our energies interact. Our rhythm dictates who we are, who we want to be, and how we interact with the world. Once we understand our own rhythm, we can then learn to harmonize with the symphony of our family, our community and our world.
Understanding our rhythm, we are released from being tossed around aimlessly by our emotions and the emotions of others around us. Sounds great, right? Well, it does come with some work. In order to find one’s rhythm, we must work to understand ourselves.
Choosing the adventure of understanding one’s self is a mighty step towards creating a fulfilling existence. Once an Explorer has taken their first step, my job is to provide guidance along this journey to my Explorers by helping them learn the Essential Elements of Life.
One of the first lessons my Explorers learn is to define their natural energy. Learning our natural tendencies helps uncover the gaps between where we are and where we would like to be. Balancing energies is a solid place to start as it allows us to become more in tune with the dance between the push and pull of life, what triggers us and where we need to build resiliency.
Energy is separated into two types: Yin & Yang. These two energies (Yin & Yang) are the basis for everything in our universe. The constant push and pull between light and dark affects every level of our lives – from the global view to our individual existence. Today, we will take a deeper look at these two entities, their tendencies, their effect on our lives, and how to learn the rhythm they have coded within our souls so we can join the symphony and create more harmony.
Yin and Yang defined
Yin and Yang are the words we use to define the conflicting energy spectrum that dictates much of our universe. Yin envelops the concepts of acceptance, rest and reassessment or strategy. Yang is the name of the force of chaos, the push for progress and the use of force to achieve our goals. Both are necessary to attain a life of balance, for what is life without progress and what is progress without acceptance?
Yin and Yang are complementary – both are exponentially more powerful when combined. All humans hold attributes of each within them, but we have different levels and capacities for the amount of each we can handle. Think of the little dot of each that exists in the sea of the other, sometimes the dot is large, sometimes it seems non-existent, but it is always there and can come into balance with practice.
Often, souls are born with a stronger understanding of one of these energies, but we can learn to appreciate, and acquire strength in the other throughout our lives. The natural tendency of our energy is not tied to a particular type of human, but there are generalities that have been categorized over time. Throughout history, much credence has been given to the idea that males tend have stronger Yang energy and females stronger Yin. While generally that tends to be true, we must understand that every person is able to show strong characteristics of one or the other regardless of their gender, sex or identification.
Yin & Yang’s effect
Both of these energies are important to life. These forces create a rhythm, or a dance, that needs to be balanced and allowed to flourish or their attributes grow too strong and become overbearing. If this happens, the weaker energy will morph into its ugliest self to take control from whichever has grown too powerful. When balanced they work together to strategically move us towards our soul’s desire.
The power of Yang stems from the ability to create change. Yang will always push, always yearn for more. Yang promotes bravery and risk-taking. It constantly yearns for progress and movement. The power of Yin stems from the ability to connect with others and plot the course. Yin is a place of peace when Yang has burnt out its energy and needs to rest, recharge and grow. When we are strong in Yin, we are able to see the big picture, reassess and plan how best to achieve the next level that Yang’s power will strive towards.
Yang energy lives along the plane of aggression and compassion. Aggression is using energy to push, control, and unleash the epitome of its strength. The sky seems to be the limit with Yang in control. When Yangs power wanes or gets out of control it requires a strong Yin to place it back on track. Compassion happens when Yang allows Yin to take control; more like a sovereign less like a dictator, a kind leader who submits to their people.
Notice, however, that Yang never fully submits; it only allows. They must be in control, or at least feel they are, as their Yin is small, and their Ego is fragile. Belief from others leads them to do their best work; change is only necessary with support.
Progress forces Yang towards Aggression when change is needed and this progress breeds competition, waking up other Yang and exacerbating the amount of Aggression in the environment. This aggression creates life, dismantles the old and allows for the new, but if left unchecked can create war, pain and suffering. Yang at its strongest creates a period of turbulence for Yin. When Yang is at its highest those strong in Yin feel crushed, stifled and can be easily hurt.
The Concept of Yin
Yin lives along the plane of empathy and Control. It’s driven by a desire for connectedness and for peace. Yin must be shown compassion and respect in order to flower and when it does, our environment is a place of community, togetherness and love. Safety comes from having a structure that is agreeable to both energies, with Yang having the right amount of compassion to allow Yin’s empathy level to reach its potential.
Yin looks at the world as a community and is often concerned with emotional health and safety. Where Yang provides the energy Yin must create the rhythm and the structure that allows both to coexist. Often described as the dark with a more negative connotation, Yin is a place of rest, relaxation, learning, growth and planning. Yin is the coordinator of the partnership and must fully understand Yang’s capability and strength to create a place for both to thrive.
When Yang is in charge, Yin must either submit and allow or fight by using manipulation and strategy to contain the change. If Yin decides to struggle against Yang, there are a few things that must be decided. Namely: How much force can it control and for how long. Yin’s Yang is small, and in a fight of pure aggression and physical strength it will not win without losing itself as well (i.e., Armageddon).
In order to convince Yang to relent, Yin must use the tactics of Manipulation and Strategy. Manipulation comes when they feel hurt, overwhelmed, stressed or unnecessary and can manifest as spite.
Strategy comes from being allowed the space and time to see the bigger picture, to set goals, and to have a plan of action. If asked to plan when manifesting spite, Yin will create a structure that blocks out Yang as much as possible; if shown respect and compassion, the strategy will have an empathetic intent.
Let’s head through a short analogy to see how this works out in real life. I am guessing that most everyone has attempted to ride a seesaw (teeter totter?) when they were young, so hopefully this will make sense. The seesaw was not always the easiest toy on the playground, but if done right, it was one of the most fun. Riding a teeter totter (seesaw) was both scary and exhilaratingly ticklish, it took concentration but allowed for times of freedom and flight. The trick to this is that we must find a good partner.
To really make the seesaw work one must:
- Find a partner of similar gravity
- Together, decide on a rhythm
- Accept that sometimes you are floating and sometimes kicking
- Communicate changes that will affect the situation
- Collectively work to change stride or stop the dance
The flow of life is similar – we need to balance our energy, then balance energy with our partners, families and friends in order to create a harmonious life. Expand this to the community, state, country and global levels and one can easily see the amount of work that is needed can seem overwhelming. However, if every person worked on the first two layers, we could see a multitude of progress within our lifetimes towards an environment of shared harmony.
Why are we so out of balance? The answer is full of layers of complexity. One main reason is that our population is currently living out a life subliminally sold to us over the past generations. Subliminal messages are everywhere, in print, on our phones, in commercials, movies, television, school, our families – everywhere we look we are being molded often when we least realize.
This molding takes time, effort and a lot of money. Effort is needed to carefully mold a question, a meme, a picture, or a phrase into something we take in, to hit the depths of our psyche. Each message is meant to move us in some way, often with the desire for profit.
The messages pull us in directions that many of us wouldn’t freely choose and this creates a level of dissonance in our minds causing added stress, pain and fatigue. Even when we want to choose “the right thing” we often cannot due to this conditioning. Our Yang is stuck in aggressive mode and our Yin is working overtime to manipulate the masses.
Yin & Yang rebalanced
How do we shake ourselves out of this control? Submission, vulnerability, compassion, acceptance, empathy, and accountability. All of these concepts can feel scary, especially when we exist in an environment that is primed to scrape our psyches clean for profit and gain. But these concepts are necessary if we want to live in a new world where we can balance our ever-growing desire for progress and change with our need for strategic rebalancing, lessons learned and rest.
While we work on exploring more of these concepts in our future sessions together, there are simple steps to take to start rewiring our minds back to a more balanced state:
Adding Yin to your daily life
Start Planning – Scary for some, so let’s start small. When you wake in the morning, plan an extra 5 minutes before you have to jump up to start your day. Visualize your morning from the time you will get out of bed to the time you start your work. Visualization helps us emotionally connect with what we are about to do and can help us be less forgetful. An added plus is that we will feel more accomplished when we achieved the visualized path in real life! Just this one simple thing can help our days get better. Practice this at different intervals to strengthen your strategic and emotional muscles.
Sacrifice a little so your environment can thrive – Determine small ways that you can give of yourself or accept something you had been ignoring or rejecting. Does your plant need some tender loving care? Spend a few extra minutes to learn how to meet its needs. Are you struggling to meet a deadline, but your little one wants your attention? Often, taking 2 minutes, even if it breaks your concentration, to give them your undivided attention will stave off the consistent nagging you will feel if you ignore their pleas. Submitting for a bit of our day, even when we are most busy, (unless life threatening of course), to provide another being with what they request can help strengthen bonds, and in the end make both ourselves and the other feel that they matter.
Adding Yang to your daily life
Try something different every other day – It could be waking up at a different time, eating something new, learning a new fact, exploring a new subject, anything that is very different from your normal routine. Adding a bit of change each day helps us strengthen our resiliency to deal with unexpected outcomes or ambiguity. Creating controlled changes, i.e., choosing the change, helps us explore our fear of change in a safe and more comfortable way. Doing it at different intervals lessens any anxiety we may feel, as we do not need to have to change constantly to see results.
Give yourself permission to suck – A friend shared this with me recently and it really spoke to me as I often need to add more Yang into my life. Yang is not afraid; it is fearless and in that majesty is the ability to try and try again. We need this fearlessness to resonate within us or we would never fully experience life. When first trying something, allow yourself to suck for a while. Rarely are we perfect on the first try, but our embarrassment at not attaining perfection the first time allows us to give up easily or never try in the first place. Embarrassment is not fun, but it is often fleeting, so take the burn and keep on trying.
Hopefully these suggestions will bring more balance into life and help on the path towards Enlightenment. This will be the last part of Scaling Maslow’s hierarchy for now, but we will pick this story next year as I release my book of the same name in 2022! I hope that each of you will find comfort, compassion and guidance from this excerpt and again from the book when it is released. 😊
Next time we will be taking our journey with Yin and Yang a step farther by discussing helpful concepts around creating a winning relationship. Take care until then. ☯
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