The Unity of Opposites in Life

We all know about opposites: Good and Bad, Light and Dark, Short & Long, Male and Female, etc. One of a paiQigong spirit imager of opposites is exactly what the other one isn’t and vice versa. Since they are truly opposite it is very easy to tell them apart and to keep each in its proper place.

However, I believe the true extent of how opposites are one and the same thing is not fully understood by most people in regards to how the human body and mind functions.

First of all, in most instances there is really no such thing as opposites. What we call opposite is really just a convenient way for our mind to grasp and make sense of what we are thinking about by judging it against something we already think we know about.

For example, let’s look at the opposites of Hot and Cold. There is actually no such thing as Coldness. There is no such quantity as “Cold.” There is only Heat (or lack of Heat). Thermometers cannot and do not measure the amount of Cold there is. They only measure Heat. The concept of Absolute Zero, where all motion ceases and even matter changes its nature is not the greatest amount of Cold possible. It is the total absence of Heat.

The same is true for Long and Short. Rulers do not measure the Shortness of something. They can only measure its length, whatever that length maybe.

Finally, let’s look at Young and Old. There is no such thing as Youngness. There is only Age. If something has more of it, we call it old. If it has less of it, we call it young.

I hope that I have given you enough examples for you to understand that the nature of opposites is that they are a construct of the human mind. As such,Spirit garden image they are nothing more than a tool which helps us put things into a relative perspective which makes it easier for us to judge and understand them on our terms.

Of course, this means we do all of this to avoid understanding things on their own terms; and thus, we are setting ourselves up to never really understanding the true nature of the object or concept.

Now, having prefaced with this concept, let’s proceed to the specific pair of opposites I want to discuss with you.

One of the first things we learn about the human body is that the front of the body is Yin and the back is Yang. However, let’s look further than that. What does the front of the body do? It pushes. Our chest muscles are the prime movers (most important muscle) in a push-up or pressing action.

So? Pushing is a Yang activity. It is expansive in general and in the relative—our back expands as the chest contracts (Yin).

Let’s recap this: Our Yin side causes Expansion by contracting; or, our Yin side causes Yang by being more Yin than it was.

OK. What about the Yang and the back of the human body?

It is exactly the same in the opposite way. Our back which is Yang pulls, which is absorbing or Yin, by contracting (which is Yin) its muscles and thereby expanding the chest which is now more Yang than it was.

To sum this up, Yin produces a Yang effect by being Yin which causes the back (Yang) to expand (Yang); and Yang causes a Yin effect by being Yin. Further more, when done within the limits of harmony, a Yin action (pulling) causes the torso to move forward (which is Yang); and, a Yang action (pushing) causes the torso to move rearwards (which is Yin).

Spirit Chakra imageSimilarly, a male uses his size and weight when being aggressive. A male is Yang, Aggression is Yang; but, size and weight is more Yin (like a mountain is Yin). Aggression is usually all about taking something, which is absorbing and therefore Yin.


A female is Yin; but, giving birth is expansive and Yang. Giving Life is Yang. Actually, Giving, itself, is Yang.


In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the five Yin organs, the Heart, Liver, Kidneys, Spleen and Lungs ALL perform Yang actions or activities. The six Yang organs, the Small Intestine, the Gall Bladder, the Urinary Bladder, the Stomach, the Large Intestine and the Triple Heater all perform the Yin activity of storage (among other things).

To sum this up, Yang is Yang because by its very Yang nature it performs Yin actions; and, Yin is Yin because by its very Yin nature, it performs Yang Actions. Each of the things discussed above would be not be classified the way it is if it did not have the exact same relationship with its "opposite."

What about the Yogic view of things?

It is actually the same. Shiva is Consciousness, Yang, which cannot perform any action without Power or Kundalini which is Yin; and, Kundalini can’t perform any action without guidance which is Yang. One could say that Power without the Will necessary to do anything is essentially Powerless; and, Consciousness and its Will to do something is totally useless without the ability to act upon its thoughts and desires.

Yin and Yang is just not a case of one giving rise to the other and the existence of a never ending cycle of waxing and waning, one into the other. It is truly a case of an intertwining so complex that it cannot be unraveled without destroying the whole; because it is the whole.

The whole is the whole and is not divisible. Yin and Yang are relative terms used to form an understanding of a whole we cannot understand without the aid of our relative constructs.

What most belief systems consider their "Absolute" is always something Unchanging. If It is unchanging, where does a cycle fit in? Where do Yin and Yang, Shiva and Kundalini fit in?

Only in our human minds.

The Dao De Ching speaks of Wuji in the beginning.

It wasn’t until the separation of opposites occurred or Taiji occurred that the Ten Thousand Things (a metaphor for all of Creation) came into being. Yoga speaks of all of Creation being illusion and only The One is Real. Maya or Illusion is the cause of separation from our realizing non-separation.

Taiji is Yin and Yang or the concept of opposites which is an illusion. Without Taiji there is The One. Without Maya there is The One.

The core tenets of Yoga and Daoism are actually very similar. Of course, the way they express their beliefs is very different; and, thus their rituals are very different. But their core is essentially the same.