I see this a lot in articles on men and masculinity:
Men are/should be Yang, women are/should be Yin.
I want to bust that particular myth. If you subcribe to it, it's not serving you or your relationship.
The theory of Yin and Yang is one of great subtlety and depth, and honestly most people don't really get it.
I’ll give you a quick crash course then we’ll go into how it really applies to understanding men and women - and how it can help you.
The Yin Yang theory is one of the fundamental concepts of Chinese Daoist philosophy and is at the heart of QiGong, Chinese Medicine, Kung Fu, Tai Chi, etc..
Yang is characterised as fire, expansion, outside, upwards, heat, subtle, etc..
Yin is characterised as water, contraction, inside, downwards, cold, obvious, etc..
Many people state that Yang is masculine and Yin is feminine. There is a truth to this, but the problem is most people leap to Yang is man and Yin is woman.
It's NOT what it is.
If you’ve learnt about Yin and Yang before I want you to put aside any associations with masculine and feminine for a moment, as I find the Yang = man etc gets in the way of really understanding this for a lot of people.
The image to your right is the classic Yin Yang image, and it's got an incredible - even mind-blowing - subtlety to it if you know how to look.
Key to understanding Yin and Yang is that they are relative concepts. One does not exist without the other. To say something is Yang is a relative statement.
So for example, an association with Yang is above. This means there MUST be a below, so in this case below is Yin.
So that means my head is Yang as compared to my feet. But my head is Yin compared to the clouds. It all depends on your point of reference as to what is Yin and what is Yang.
My hair is Yang compared to my chin, on that hear the tip is Yang compared to the root. This can go on pretty much infinitely. We can keep going pretty much indefinitely finding smaller and smaller divisions of Yin and Yang.
It's a bit of a relativity fractal kind of thing.
So, they are purely relative concepts. This idea might seem simple but it’s actually one that’s quite hard to think about properly for an English speaker as we’re so used to thinking in absolutes in english. It’s part of the reason I think most people keep getting tripped up by it.
It’s useful for understanding the flow of things. The relationship between things. It’s a powerful concept that can really enrich your life: we’ll get to application in a moment.
So Yin and Yang are always flowing around and into each other. Heat will travel from a hot (Yang) object to a cold (Yin) object.
However, as something gets really Yin, e.g. really cold and really dense, it begins to produce heat. An example is our Sun. The core of the Sun, while extremely hot, is also in one sense extremely Yin as it’s the intense condensation that’s causing the generation of the heat.
Any part of a man or women can be described as yin or yang depending on what it’s relative to.
Now quite often men are described as Yang and women as Yin. This can be true when compared to each other. But it depends on what you're comparing - and even when.
For example physical characteristics: height, strength, hardness, an outwards focus are all things we can ascribe as Yang and (generally) ascribe to man as compared to women.
Sexually, a man’s sexual organ is external and penetrates (Yang), a woman’s sexual organ is internal and takes in (Yin).
However, emotionally, who is more Yin and Yang?
I’d contend a women is more Yang emotionally than a man: dominant, outwards, forceful. Men tend to be a more inwards, hidden, passive emotionally.
There are times when the woman in your life takes the lead in a situation - with kids this happens regularly.
This can be seen in a deep loving flow of sexual energy in the body.
When the man and woman are deeply open to each other, the following happens:
A man’s sexual energy flows out his penis into the woman and up to her heart. From her heart, it flows out of her breasts (notice how they protrude in a very Yang like manner compared to the man’s comparatively flat chest?) and it’s his heart, which has become receptive to her emotional energy and flows down to his sexual organs.
There is a flow. Yang is always transforming to Yin, and Yin is always transforming to Yang.
After an action there is rest. After rest there is action.
In this sexual example, a woman can take the man’s sexual creative energy and transform it into emotional love energy, then man can absorb it in and transform it back to sexual energy enhanced by the love transmutation and give back to the woman his sexual creative energy that has been imbued with her love energy and so on.
Energy builds, love is made, and the couple can experience a deep and powerful sense of connection and depth to themselves and each other.
Don’t define yourself as Yang or as masculine. It’s a trap. Look for the flow. Look for where you can step into Yang when there’s room for it, and where you can step into Yin when it’s called for.
For example, if you were always Yang you’d be always talking and expressing yourself and never listening, taking in (being Yin) which I can tell you would wear thin very quickly.
Listening to and mastering this balance makes life a lot more interesting when you master both Yin and Yang. `
The tiger waits in the grass (Yin) for the perfect time to strike (Yang).
The martial artist is relaxed and adaptive in his movement, listening to his opponent (Yin) so his strike is powerful (Yang).
The lover is deeply receptive to his woman (Yin) so he can take her at just the right moment (Yang).
Making this work requires some pretty deep presence. If you want to build that skill, take a look at my Mastering Presence: Foundations course.
Don't let concepts define you. Look for the most effective way to be - and act from there.
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