“The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and ill together . . .”
--William Shakespeare (English Poet and Dramatist, 1564-1616)
I have a favorite scene in one of my all time favorite movies, Chariots of Fire, in which the China-born Scottish missionary Eric Liddell is told that the world may be ready for a “muscular Christian.”
I’ve spent more than three decades in the company of holistic practitioners, ecologists and other people working toward a better future. But over the years I’ve had many friendly debates with people about the way in which so much of their activities are all about love and peace, turning the other cheek, and activities that I can only describe as “Really, really Yin.”
On one level this is all fine: we live in a world that has spent at least six thousand years extolling the virtues of Yang energy: Action, fight, conquest, domination of women. The list is a long one. And it has got us into a mess. But does that mean that becoming totally Yin is the answer? Yin, the “female energy” that grounds, takes in and stabilizes can really only act in the presence of Yang energy. Whether we are looking at individuals or at the relationships and society that we create, we need to balance the two forces. I worry that the anodyne approach to personal development, that insists that we should all be quiet, passive and yielding, may not be the best approach to balance out our lives to help us help the planet.
“The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality.”
--Dante Alighieri (Italian Poet and Philosopher, 1265-1321)
“Washing one's hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral.”
--Paulo Freire (Brazilian Educator, 1921-1997)
To use the terminology of spiral dynamics, if we get stuck in the Green Meme, with no spark of the creative, strong Red Meme that gives us the strength to fight to defend ourselves, how will we get
things done? What will propel us to setting out to perform heroic acts, rather than just staying at home doing the laundry?
In no way am I suggesting that you need to become a violent or aggressive individual. But if you have been moving toward your calm center, the Yin aspect of life, or the Green Meme, how will you be able to help the world in time of crisis? How will you be able to form dynamic relationships based on partnering rather than domination?
Are you living in balance, or have you allowed yourself to be sucked into mawkish New Age sentimentality that may not serve you in times to come?
One of the essential principles of integrated (a.k.a. integrative) medicine, is to re-establish balance in a person's life. Could any problems that you are facing be a result of having your Yin and Yang out of balance? Or your center of gravity being totally located in the Green Meme? Could you have no motivation or energy because you've got out of balance?
I urge you to use intuition and introspection, to seek inner guidance to see if you are missing out on something very important in your life and in your relationships.
“The sage grasps the universe by the arm. He blends everything into a harmonious whole.”
--Chuang Tzu (Chinese Philosopher, c.369-286 B.C.E.)
“Unless the wisdom of the East and the energy of the West can be harnessed and used harmoniously, the world will be destroyed.”
-- George Gurdjieff (Armenian-born Adept, Teacher and Writer, c.1873-1949)