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Home > Newsletters > July 2005 > Balance in Change

Balance in Change

By Dr. Bruce Eichelberger, OMD

Most of the time, and usually outside of our conscious awareness, we are in the process of finding our balance. This happens both internally on spiritual, mental/emotional, structural, and biochemical levels and externally in relationship to other people and our environment. This ongoing process of continually returning to balance is called homeostasis. In fact, how well we function, adapt and thrive in the world is largely related to how well we can return to balance in all circumstances.

You’ve no doubt seen the image accompanying this article – the one that looks sort of like two fishes swimming around one another. This symbol is called the taijidu, or Grand Ultimate symbol. It represents the constant interplay between complementary opposites we experience at every level of living and is a wonderful visual metaphor for balance in our lives.

The two parts of this symbol represent the Oriental concepts of Yin and Yang. When we in the West see two such opposites we commonly think they represent things that are conflicting with one another. In reality, the taijidu symbol represents something quite different. Yin and Yang are not opposed, but rather complementary to one another—one simply cannot exist without the other.

Originally these two concepts referred to the light and dark side of a mountain. If you observe a mountain over the course of a day you will notice that the light and dark sides are constantly changing and shifting. Ultimately, what is light in the morning becomes dark in the evening and vice-versa.

This somewhat obvious fact reflects a profound truth, namely that in nature all things go through cycles of change: day turns into night and back into day; summer and winter alternate; every inhale is followed by an exhale. In fact, it is the interaction of complementary opposites in the world that make life possible. The taijidu also gives us a really interesting view of what balance actually means – it isn’t a state of static equilibrium, but rather a fluctuation over time between two poles of experience. The balance comes as we move through the experiences.

Here are some basic facts about Yin and Yang worth mentioning:

  1. Each supports, rather than opposes the other

  2. Each one carries the seed of the other within it (represented by the small dot of the opposite color in each)

  3. Yin gradually turns to Yang and vice-versa

  4. Each aspect of the two can be further divided into Yin and Yang – in other words, if Yin is nighttime and Yang is daytime, then within the Yang of daytime, the morning is more Yang and the afternoon is more Yin.

  5. Yang creates Yin and Yin creates Yang

  6. One cannot exist without the other – something that is purely Yin or purely Yang cannot exist.

These complementary concepts of Yin and Yang are reflected in every aspect of our lives. Finding balance in the midst of change is the ultimate goal of a healthy, self-actualizing person.

You might find it interesting to spend some time observing how these complementary polarities function in your world. For example, sometimes it’s totally appropriate to move forward with great energy and directly confront an issue. I have a friend who calls this “tunneling through the mountain to get to the ocean.” On the other hand, there are definitely times when a more indirect approach actually makes more sense, sort of like getting on a raft and letting it carry you on it’s winding way down the river to the ocean.

Both approaches have their place, and both are useful when done appropriately in the process of finding and keeping our balance in life. Wisdom and experience end up being our best guides to know when each is best used.

Dr. Bruce Eichelberger, OMD is a Doctor of Oriental Medicine whose practice is based on the concept of balance in all areas of living. He practices acupuncture, herbal medicine and Metabolic Typing in Reno, Nevada. You can reach him at (775) 827-6901.

© 2004 Bruce Eichelberger, OMD

This Month's Articles

July, 2005
Volume 3, Number 7

Is There a Male Menopause?

Bell's Palsy

Balance in Change

Recent Research

Ask The Doctor

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