The symbol of Tai Ji (you can see the image to the left, under the poem by Ts'ai-ken T'an) is a symbol almost everyone knows, but most just call it the "Yin Yang" symbol. And that is what it represents. Yin and Yang.
What is so cool about this theory is how it really represents a duality in life. Both yin and yang exist. In everything. At all times. Kind of like electron particles behaving like waves. Duality.
Which totally makes sense to me, because I've never truly felt black and white about anything. (Which is probably why my gall bladder keeps acting up. It's supposed to the the main organ involved in decision making. Sigh.)
So you may know that Yang represents the sun, heaven, active, bright. Yin represents the moon, earth, rest, shade. And when I ask anyone around here to quantify those qualities - ask them which are good qualities, which would they have in their lives - they all point to the yang qualities. (Except for moms with newborns. They're always lured by the word "rest.")
So I'm not sure what this means. Is it because our culture (I'm speaking of American culture) that we vibrate to yang qualities? Remember when people used to say "active"? It's not good enough for us, we have to be "pro-active." We've got to be plugged in to something - computer, music, cell phone, gameboys, television, i-whatevers, cube-thingies, x-baggies. Our kids are even trained at a young, young age to think fast, move (in their games, anyway) fast, eat fast.
I read an article by a Buddhist monk who reminisced about a bell that rang three times a day in his village. Every time the bell rang, everyone in the village stopped. They just stopped and became aware.
For several minutes they held that space, filling it with compassion and love. And soon, grounded again, they resumed their day.
Wow. What an incredible thing that must have been. A whole village stopping to just be. Can you imagine the power of that? That would just be the coolest thing.
So, tonight I'm going to try it with my family and then I'm off to teach class and I'm going to try it there, too.
I'll let you know how it goes.
Hey! You try it too. Freak people out at work or in a classroom or in a grocery store: bring in a bell, ring it and then just stand there smiling, appreciating life.