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Meditation, Yoga and the Dao

How the Yin-Yang perspective helps with my meditation and yoga practice.

Sometimes people suck and sometimes they don’t. Sometimes I suck and sometimes I don’t. Meditation, yoga and the Dao help me focus on the ebb and flow of suck. And they help me see the similarities in the non-suck.

Yin-Yang Yoga

There are a few explanations out there for the word “yoga”. The root word is “yuj” which means “joined”, “yoked” or “harnessed”. The common metaphor used to explain this involves oxen. They work best when yoked together by a harness. The two oxen represent the mind and body. The harness is the higher self or the part of the mind that doesn’t run amok.

The symbol for Daoism is the yin-yang. Two tear drop shapes. One black. One white. Together they form a circle, but each of the shapes contains a dot from the other shape. The dark represents the feminine and the light represents masculine. The two complement each other and are not considered diametrically opposed, hence the touch of one in the other.

My favorite way to think of the yin-yang is to think of our hormone system. While I have an abundance of estrogen in my body it doesn’t mean I am without testosterone. My brother, while possessing more testosterone, is not without estrogen.

Why Siblings Suck

I have a brother and a sister, and sometimes they suck. Mostly, I’d argue, because when people spend time apart they change and don’t see the changes in the other person. Sometimes when they reunite they’re surprised that the other person doesn’t match the mental picture they’ve painted.

For my brother, my sister and me, we’re a trinity of headstrong, opinionated, passionate adults – kinda like oxen - who weren’t reared to be docile. As the eldest, I can be really bossy and each of them has put me in my place. They each have their faults, too. But I know there’s a Dao to each of them and to each of their faults. And mine. Headstrong, opinionated, and passionate? Each one of those traits in my mental picture can be twisted into a boon. Just like the twist of the teardrops of the yin-yang. Each one of us has dark and light. Neither is bad. Each needs the balance of the other.

Yoking the Oxen

Having moved back to the East Coast I have interactions with the other oxen. Sometimes we’re yoked together at parties. Sometimes it sucks and sometimes it doesn’t. Every time I walk away with lessons about myself and about them. I mostly learn that if I choose to look at the yin-yang in each of them it’s easier to be yoked to them.

But it's in my meditation practice where I can watch the thoughts and emotions settle into this realization: That while each of us is composed of yin and yang, we’re all oxen.

If I pay attention to them, that is.

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