Sunday, December 31, 2006

A Basic Understanding of Yin and Yang

I use this blog to talk about male and female behavior, individually, in relationships, and globally, using the lens of yin and yang. I invite commentary and hope you enjoy the insights I've collected about men and women -- Mary Traina

The words yin and yang (pronounced yong as in gong) have come to represent a part of what is mysterious and spiritual about the East. From upscale ads in New Age magazines to sitcoms to casual conversation, they are used to exemplify opposite qualities in any given situation. She is yin to his yang, they are as different as yin and yang, salt and sugar, hot and cold, and so on.

In reality, they simply describe two qualities found in everywhere in the world, from the behavior of molecules to the sun and the moon, and everything in between. They also represent male (yang) energy, and female (yin) energy.

A basic rule regarding the relationship of yin and yang is:
YANG protects YIN
YIN nurtures YANG
Together they form a complete whole.

Everyone has a mix of yin and yang qualities.

Men are essentially more yang – in body and temperament and behavior. Women are essentially more yin. But each of us has some of the other energy. And in each of us, our yang protects our yin.

Since men have more yang energy, they tend to be more aggressive and are apt to see a need to label situations as threatening or requiring ‘handling.’ Their predominant yang makes them protective of what they might perceive as yin -- or something or someone needing protection. This stepping up to the plate is inherent in yang energy. It is a very necessary and very powerful force. And though it can be increased or repressed, or perverted in some way, especially by the rules of different cultures and society, it is very important for women to understand that it is not unnatural for men to feel this way. Once I saw this clearly, I was able to accept that characteristic in men, and even celebrate it.

Women, on the other hand, while able to marshal aggression, would rather defuse a situation and keep things running smoothly. Underneath all the socialized rhetoric that women are less aggressive is the very real positive force of preservation of life. It is this very vital and very yin quality which allows women to step back from confrontation and seek a gentler (some might say smarter) way out where no-one gets hurt. This should never be mistaken for weakness. It would be easy to see women as physically less aggressive and therefore less able to intimidate or set limitations. It is our strength and our power that we see life and alternatives in situations where men see restricted options and the need for destruction. There is a time and a place for each energy. Within our bodies, between individual people, within our families, and in the world at large, we need both male and female qualities in order to survive. And it is vitally important for me to understand and accept the power of women and celebrate it.

I hope you can use this basic understanding of male and female energies and enjoy my stories and commentary on how yin and yang shape our behavior and relationships.

And maybe, if I have been successful, You will realize what a lot of the ‘small stuff’ means and that it is okay, even vital, to be different; that we each have our own ‘mission’ to fulfill, our own energy that propels us through our lives in ways that are personal and unique, and above all, as nature intended, which is not such a bad thing at all.