This symbol, known as the T’ai Chi Chu symbol or Yin-Yang symbol, has its roots in ancient Chinese cosmology. The original meaning of yin and yang” represents the mountains – both the dark side and the bright side, or the contrasting shaded and sunlight slopes of the mountain. These two words can possibly be traced back to the Shang and Chou Dynasty (1550-1050 BC). But most scholars credit “Yin and Yang” to the Han Dynasty (206 BC).
In A.D. 220, Tsou Yen founded the Yin Yang School, which combines the ancient philosophy of the five elements (wood, fire, earth, metal, and water) into a cosmology of cyclical movements.
The arrangement between the two poles forms a cycle of movement, or the meaning of change. In relationship to the elements, wood and fire belong to the yang, and water and metal to yin. Earth belongs to both yin and yang because it assists both. Yin and yang only represent opposite poles, not good or evil. What role do yin and yang play in everyday life?
As you can see, the Chinese picked up on this many years ago. The ideas behind Yin and Yang were developed by observing the physical world. It was observed that nature appears to group into pairs of mutually dependent opposites. For example, the concept of night has no meaning without the concept of day. Americans picked up on the connection, but never truly tried to name it. Yin and Yang are just opposites.
I believe that’s where the saying Opposites attract” originated from. The Chinese believed that in any situation, there could never be a whole without the positive and the negative because you won’t get a perfect fit. There are so many examples that can be explained, examples that have never truly been thought through 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 you put the north and south together, you form a whole.
A joining together of opposite poles. Another example would be a person riding a bicycle. If a person riding a bicycle wants to go somewhere, they cannot pump on both pedals at the same time or not pump on them at all. In order to go somewhere, they have to pump on one pedal and release the other. So the movement of going forward requires this oneness” of pumping and releasing. This “oneness” of things is a characteristic of the Chinese mind.
In the Chinese language, words are viewed as a whole because their meanings are derived from each other. For example, the Chinese character for good” and the Chinese character for “not good” reflect the quality of something when combined. Similarly, the Chinese characters for “long” and “short” together mean “length.” These examples demonstrate that everything has a complementary part to form a whole, and without one, it is impossible to have the other.
In conclusion, I believe that most human beings live their lives according to the saying, Don’t sweat the small stuff.” Small stuff refers to things that don’t serve a purpose in everyday life. Every day, we become even more blinded by “the big picture” instead of seeing the beauty in things that we normally don’t care about. Being at one with yourself and your surroundings could be a wonderful experience, but not many are willing to take that step.