Cross Legged Yoga Pose
Yin and Yang and the Whole Shi-Bang!
What about yin and yang? Where does this fit into it? Yin and yang are said to be the first expression of energy from the primordial ONE or Wuji as it is referred to in Chinese. The energy that shone forth from the primordial ONE was an energetic force known as Qi (a highly intelligent, electrical fabric also sometimes referred to as bioenergy). In order for it to come into existence, it separated itself from the ONE and therefore, divided itself into duality – known as yin and yang. We humans have called it yin and yang and to us it appears to be a divided force, but this is not entirely true. It is not actually divided at all, but rather, just an expression of the ONE source. For humans to talk about it and conceptualize it, we need to divide it into yin and yang. Yin and yang is the world of duality, of light and dark, of sun and moon, of right and wrong, of language, of division and of mental conceptualization. From the yin and yang division, this Qi force then continues to divide and split further into the 5 elements to create the world of matter. Man’s body is made from the 5 elements, his mind is made up of primarily thought, which is dualistic in nature (yin and yang), and his spirit or heart is connected to the ONE or the Wuji, yet many humans are not aware of this.
One of man’s biggest hindrances to self-realization is his over-identification with the intellect and the yin and yang of things. It is, of course, helpful to a degree to harness and understand the yin and yang of our world and our intellect. However, man has little faith or experience in cultivating and nurturing the relationship with the source that resides in the heart, and this sense of disconnection reduces one’s capacity to live fully. All enlightened beings sit firmly in the source, the field beyond yin and yang, beyond the limitation of mind. As long as one has a physical body, the body will always be influenced by the 5 elements, yet his or her heart can be free.
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When man aligns his body, mind and heart with the universal flow of this expression of energy, this is called the Tao or the Way of the spiritual warrior. Figure 1.2 is an illustration to help express this cosmology.
The Oriental Yoga system is designed to balance the 5 elements, purify the mind and open the heart. We utilize asana (bodily postures), diet and lifestyle to harmonize the physical laws of the 5 elements. We use meditative techniques and contemplative exercises to harmonize and purify the yin and yang of the mind. After some time, when the worlds of mind and matter are purified and harmonized, the door to the heart will open to the true ONE of the universe. The process involves the continual purification and cultivation of mind and matter harmonization so that this doorway becomes wider and the path to the heart becomes more established. Eventually, as one gets fully established on the path of the heart, at some point, the influence of the 5 elements and the intellectualizing mind will fall away in its significance. But first, focus on harmonizing the 5 elements and working at calming and purifying the mind. The rest will reveal itself when the practitioner is ready.