This symbol, known as the T’ai Chi Chu symbol, or Yin-Yang symbol has itsroots in ancient Chinese cosmology. The original meaning of “yin andyang” is representative of the mountains–both the dark side and the brightside, or the contrasting shaded and sunlight slopes of the mountain. These twowords can possibly be traced back to the Shang and Chou Dynasty,(1550 – 1050BC). But most scholars credit the “Yin and Yang” to the Han Dynasty(206B.
C. -A. D. 220). At this time, The Yin Yang School was founded by Tsou Yen. It combines the ancient philosophy of the 5 elements: wood, fire, earth, metal,water; and combined them into a cosmology of cyclical movements.
The arrangementbetween the two poles forms a cycle of movement or the meaning of change. Inrelationship to the elements, wood and fire belong to the yang, and water andmeter to yin. Earth belongs to both yin and yang because it assists both. Theyin and yang only represent opposite poles NOT good or evil. You might ask whatrole the Yin and Yang play in everyday life.
Well, as you can see, the Chinesepicked up on this many years ago. The ideas behind Yin and Yang developed byobserving the physical world. It was observed that nature appears to group intopairs mutually dependent opposites. For example, the concept of night has nomeaning without the concept of day. Americans picked up on the connection, butnever truly tried to name it. Yin and Yang are just opposites.
I believethat’s were the saying, “Opposites attract”, originated from. Chinesebelieved that in any situation, that without the positive and the negative therecould never be a whole. Because you want get a perfect fit. There are so manyexamples that can be explained, examples that have never truly been thoughtthrough or examined. For instance, a magnet has a South Pole and a North Pole. Putting two south sides or two north sides together is impossible, but if youput the north and south together, you form a whole.
A joining together of theopposite poles. Another example would be a person riding a bicycle. If a personriding a bicycle wants to go somewhere he/she cannot pump on both pedals at thesame time or not pump on them at all. In order to go somewhere he/she has topump on one pedal and release the other. So the movement of going forwardrequires this “oneness” of pumping and releasing. This “oneness” ofthings is a characteristic of the Chinese mind.
In the Chinese language, wordsare even looked on as a whole because their meanings are derived from eachother. For example, the Chinese character for “good” and the Chinesecharacter for “not good,” when combined together will reflect the quality ofsomething (whether good or not good). Likewise, the Chinese character for “long” and the Chinese character for “short,” when brought together mean”length”. All these examples show us that everything has a complementarypart to form a whole. Without one it is impossible to have the other.
Inclosing, I believe that most human beings live their life according to thesaying, “Don’t sweat the small stuff. ” Small stuff meaning things thatreally don’t serve a purpose in everyday life. Daily we become even moreblinded by “the big picture” instead of seeing the beauty in things that wenormally don’t care about. Being at one with yourself and your surroundingscould be a wonderful experience, but not many are willing to take that step.