CW #14: DUALISM
What DOES joy FEEL LIKE, if you have never EXPERIENCED sorrow?
If I look at the life we live, I realize one thing. We get so busy managing all daily tasks, we often forget to think about life’s purpose and its systematics. We barely consider to question or reflect upon things we go through. Meanwhile time passes, essential years of our lifetime, experiences have been made and we find ourselves stuck in situations. Sometimes it might just be one small life event, the wrong color of curtains, the unsuccessful dinner, or the failed Christmas present, that leads to irritation, followed by chaos. As a result we go through confrontations. Extremes, that wether try to recover its findings or actually start to ask for its meaning to reveal long-forgotten decisions. After all, would we be able to transform without experiencing chaos, catching attention as a crisis throwing overboard fundamental life ideas? Aren’t those experiences, good AND bad, of great significance? WELCOME TO CW #14: DUALISM!
For all intents and purposes - aren’t we all reaching for the same stars? What is your primary goal as a living being? Try to think of rather basal demands. Commercially speaking, our biggest dream is to pursue a so-called “happy” life, whatever this might mean exactly. Happiness. It is a word with a lot of depth to it. However, nowadays we do not only refer to happiness as wanting to express an inner condition. It has become a way of life, a mindset, yet an image. Being happy is a must, no longer a decision. In fact, the term “happiness” has become a matter of marketing and sales, for instance found in the variety of offerings regarding “work-life-balance”. Almost anything that deals with the idea of well-being, may it be yoga, meditation, nutrition, superfoods even fair-trade labeling, is a “go-getter”. Sometimes it is not even about its actual function but rather its image. The image of being emotionally balanced when meditating, the image of being a reasonable member of society when consuming fair-trade products, the image of belonging to a certain group when following a particular diet. In reality what we do is chase the myth of “happiness” that is as unreal as believing life is a set up plot. You will always be the author of your individual story. Just like you will always be responsible for your personal state of happiness, wether you jump on an image or not. Most significant, we need to understand that happiness is not a state of mind, nothing you can buy to decorate your appearance. Much more, it survives by being a work in progress. And to be able to recognize its existence, it is surrounded by its counterpart - sorrow. So, are you able to accept the fact that life’s systematics are based on a dualistic structure? Let me help you create a better understanding of how dualism takes a sometimes forgotten, yet significant impact on our lives, for you to actually live by the stars!
Dualism. It is the conviction that all ideas within the world fundamentally consists of two contrasting qualities, such as good and bad. The term “dualism” arises from philosophical studies. In 1755, from French known as dualisme, it is described as “a way of thinking which explains phenomena by the assumption of two independent and absolute elements”. Dual, its adjective, derives from the Latin word dualis, meaning the dual number or duality. Whereas duo literally describes the number “two”, or “consisting of two parts”. Since 1831 it is understood as the general sense of a division into two. To sum up the linguistic background, dualism is a concept, or mindset that deals with the idea of life always being split up into two elements. This is seen in its opposite yet compensative components, such as “body and soul”, “light and dark”, “tall and small”, “loud and calm”. Dualism’s key message conveys the knowledge that one attribute survives within the existence of its counterpart. Hence, without experiencing noise, we will never be able to understand silence. This train of thought leads to a worldwide known and practiced tradition, mostly found in far-east Asian countries, especially China. We are talking about the religious and philosophical tradition of Chinese origin - Taoism or Daoism - which emphasizes living in harmony with the Tao, literally meaning “the way”. In fact, “the way” and its groundwork are described in a dualistic concept called
YIN & YANG.
Yin and Yang’s genesis is based on an ancient Chinese philosophy trying to describe life’s dualistic, or more specific two-sided structure. It stands for balancing the contrast and is seen as “dark-bright” or “negative-positive”. Yin and Yang describe how opposite power actually complements, merges and correlates each other. Everything contains the seed of its opposite. Furthermore, it states that opposing forces may even enhance their existence and lead to development due to its interrelatedness. Based on these considerations, and taking into account that in Chinese cosmology the universe creates itself out of primary chaos and material energy, the shape of Yin and Yang is organized in a visual character of cycles, as well formed into objects and lives. As a result, something can be yin and yang depending on a lot of things. At the same time, one can turn into the other. For example, Yin is the inside space of a cup, Yang is the cup itself. Without the existence of each item, none would survive. That is why they complement each other. The Yang starts an action, while the Yin receives and completes it. For this reason Yang is understood as the active principle, whereas Yin functions as its receptive counterpart. The concept of Yin and Yang is seen in all forms of change, such as annual cycles (winter vs. summer), landscape (north facing shade vs. south facing brightness) or sex (female vs. male).
Pursuing “the way” as Taoists say, you have to consider the universe’s power which is higher, deeper and truer than any other force. This is what they call TAO, again meaning “the way”. In this case Taoism’s key message is to consider cosmology as a systematic function of life and live by its requirements of minding the Yin and Yang. Unlike other religions, Taoism is not excluding its self-perception from evil. Quite the contrary, it teaches that we need to learn from both Yin and Yang. Taoists are in strong believe that living in harmony with “the way” a person will not have to fight against the universe’s flow. For instance…
… listen more and argue less.
… be ready to back up. You will make faster progress.
… do not worry about being the best. Be who you are.
… live simply. Complications take you away from “the way”.
The wise person is flexible. Learning to use the “Tao” is what it is all about. That is why you should know your Yin and Yang. It is way more than just a fancy and hip tattoo. It is a specific way of life carrying a significant message: You will never be able to be happy if you do not allow yourself to feel sorrow!
I want you to have a wonderful upcoming week and a great start in a new month. Welcome April, welcome to CAACTUS Effect!