At the moment, I’m exploring the concept of polarity and unity in my intuitive meditation practice. I thought I’d share a bit about that and invite you to reflect with me on these concepts.
In my meditation journeys, I’m specifically tuning into the polarity between the masculine and feminine principles, or what the ancient Chinese referred to as yin (feminine) and yang (masculine). Not to be confused with the male/female dichotomy as seen in sex or biological differences in the animal kingdom (including humans), although there is some overlap. But we’ll go into that more soon.
What do I mean by “polarity?” Polarity is a term used when we discuss the basic divisions of reality. Basic categories or qualities of existence. Opposites that exchange in a complementary and nourishing way. A rhythmic back and forth of primordial essences that make up reality and create the dance of consciousness.
These basic polarities of complementary opposites govern, facilitate, and describe the journey of consciousness from an individual or separate sense of self to a unitive sense of self that transcends division and combines all reality into one sense of being. Into ultimate oneness. Some believe that this state of unity is the primary being or absolute reality. This state of being is sometimes described as nirvana (Buddhism), moksha (Hinduism), God, Source, the Godhead, or even the Absolute depending on your tradition.
So, the concepts of polarity and unity get right to the heart of the path of the seeker.
Any person seeking to experience pinnacle consciousness or Absolute reality, will need to be able to identify and appreciate this classic dance between polarity and unity. It is the mechanism by which the Self or God (the core spiritual essence in all of us) comes to know and experience itself.
Some ancients believed that without the ever-flowing opposing but complementary principles of yin and yang, there would be only nothingness.
We shouldn’t regard yin and yang principles as adversaries. Rather, they are forces that exchange equally to create both transformation and homeostasis in the universe.
And we should note here that if you look at the Chinese symbol of the yin-yang, you’ll notice the message that within each principle exists a portion of its counterpart. Which I find further drives home the old truth that all is interconnected and therefore one.
So, in case you’re new to the yin/yang concept or you just need a refresher, here’s a quick comparison of these two principles (yin/feminine – yang/masculine):
- yin – yang
- Passive – active
- receptive – penetrative
- inward – outward
- lunar – solar
- dark – light
- subconscious (unknown) – conscious (known)
- infinite potential – manifestation
- spirit – matter
- emotional or feeling – mental or thinking or logic
- heart orientation – mind orientation
- intuitive – rational
- emphasis on the collective – individuality
- going inward for divine guidance – enacting faith externally through ministry and world service
I hope that list helps you to sense the organic back and forth between the masculine and feminine principles of reality. The dynamic of yin-yang polarity can be seen on every level of existence.
In the universe…
In the creation and formation of the cosmos: from chaos and the void (yin) comes matter and structure (yang).
In world spiritual systems..
This classic polarity can be observed in the world religions. Very broadly, the Eastern religions are deeply anchoring the receptive, passive or yin principle through meditative practice (going inward). The Western Abrahamic religions on the other hand like Judaism and Christianity are exploring the yang or active principle with their emphasis on enacting spiritual beliefs through world service and ministry (going outward).
It’s not hard to spot the imbalanced aspects of both systems. In the Eastern systems (even when practiced by westerners), the imbalanced yin or overly-passive experience might cause the practitioner to fail to put to use in the real world the spiritual insights gained in meditation. Think zero to little activism. In the West, on the other hand, the imbalanced yang principle is an unhealthy emphasis on the externalized expression of spirituality. Perhaps this could cause the practitioner to perform community service to the detriment of a meditation practice or an inner spiritual experience (I’ve certainly been guilty of this) or a need to evangelize or convert others. And in the extremely imbalanced yang expression, a desire for holy war could develop, which has been a very real problem in our world.
In political movements…
This dynamic manifests politically too. Some nations and political parties have historically emphasized taking care of the collective good above the individual good. Ancient China and Japan (and many other Eastern nations) come to mind. In America, which is known for its two-party political system, the Democratic Party has made a platform for this impulse. A desire to care for the collective good naturally flows from the heart-open, receptive experience. Or the yin/feminine energy. BUT…in an imbalanced yin state, these political movements can tend to undermine the principles of individuality and the sovereignty of self. For instance, many have supressed their self-expression historically in Eastern societies to honor their families and ancestors. And in the extreme leftist movements like communism, individual freedoms and self-determinism can be lost in the wake of universalized public programming.
On the other hand, the Western nations seem to have really explored the yang principle to the fullest extent. In the West, we prize the individual good through capitalism and an emphasis on personal truth (i.e. religious freedom). We can even see where the Republican Party in the American two-party system represents this spirit to a large degree, as they protect the individual’s right to personal property. They deeply value and protect the individual good. Of course, the imbalanced yang pursues the individual good to the detriment of the collective, as we see when corporations damage environments in their pursuit of larger profit margins. Or when we hear rhetoric that calls for lower taxes for the family, come what may for vulnerable people who rely on public aid. Prioritizing the expression of individuality is a really beautiful thing, but it surely poses challenges. There’s so much diversity of thought and being in a Western nation that it can be next to impossible to develop a consensus around important decisions. In melting pots like the United States (where I reside), all the diversity (as fascinating and enriching as it is) does lead to more clashing.
I hope it doesn’t seem like I’m saying any of these systems are better than the other. Both yin and yang have their place and their value. And they both have their liabilities. What I do want to make clear is that problems come up when they’re imbalanced.
This polarity can also be observed in sexual coupling in humans, which usually involves a receptive partner and a penetrative partner. This is a dynamic that works for both opposite sex coupling and same-sex coupling, where one partner acts as the receptive principle and someone performs the penetrative principle.
In our personal lives…
Just like these two principles can manifest on the higher levels of expression like nation-building and religions, they can also take shape in our personal lives in clear ways. All people, regardless of gender, have access to an inner masculine and feminine or yang and yin essence.
Someone with a primarily yin expression will be naturally more comfortable when creative and spiritual. When dealing with emotions and intuition. They may be sensitive or empathetic toward the experience of others. These are all beautiful strengths of the yin or universal feminine. This principle makes us into community builders, creatives and strong mystics. Yin-carriers may also find it easy to see all points of view. In this way, yin makes us great at peace-making and diplomacy.
On the other hand, out of balance yin in the personal life might cause someone to give up too easily, give in to other’s opinions or needs, take care of others at the expense of self (we see this a lot in mothers and wives, don’t we?). Out of balance yin in someone’s life can also cause no to little boundaries. This person is easily over-taken. This person is walked all over, as they say. In the extreme, they can even fall prey to victimization and abuse, because they lack a sense of personal preservation and protection. They do not guard themselves or what they value. They don’t know how to practice firmness. They also may be very impulsive and spontaneous and lack discipline and structure.
A person who has too much yin in their lives might also be called other-worldly. This is a way of saying that the person has developed their spiritual side so much that they’ve forgotten how to meet their practical, material needs like income and basic living activities. They can be very ungrounded and detached from this reality or the physical realm. Any mystic can tell you this is something we have to constantly watch.
You see where I’m going with this, right? High masculine or a healthy yang in someone’s life brings that needed structure in. That way there’s something containing the vastness of the feminine. An example of this is implementing a daily routine. Getting into meditation at the same time every day. The masculine element here is practicing at the same time and the rhythm of returning to the same practice everyday. The feminine element is the meditation state, which is a process of letting go and allowing higher wisdom to penetrate one’s consciousness. Yin and yang work best in tandem, you see?
A healthy amount of yang in your personal life will help you with discipline. It will give your day more structure. It will allow you to tend to the practical needs of your life. The material world needs like earning an income, putting food on the table, and minding safety concerns. It will generate success for you in the work place, I find. It’s the active principle, so it helps you get things done and move through your to-do list. Yang also provides us with a healthy warrior energy for those times when we need to stand up for ourselves in the face of mistreatment, abuse or harm. Think loving protection.
Out of balance yang of course is a different story. It’s belligerent or war-hungry. It might lead us so far into the material world experience that we forget our spiritual side or needs. A primarily yang-oriented person may need “proof” of spiritual concepts before they can accept these ideas, because yang is the element that loves logic, the rational and the tangible. There’s a natural leaning to science, systems and logic or the left hemisphere of the brain, but out of balance there is no regard or respect for the intuitive experience. In the extreme, yang-carriers denounce the spirit and can fall into strict atheism and empiricism.
So why reflect on masculine – feminine polarity right now?
Because the art of advancing spiritually in consciousness is a process of witnessing and honoring disparate aspects of the personality (both the personal and cosmic personalities) and reconciling them. It’s our job to unify the fractured aspects of our psyche. When we honor and unify yin and yang within, that permeates unity into the collective consciousness and holds space for outer reconciliation.
My guides in mediation are asking me to acknowledge and make peace with the imbalanced feminine and masculine that characterized this last dark age of human history, where we see an over-controlling, militant yang expression and a victimized, suppressed yin expression.
It’s time for us as individual souls to balance polarity within so our planet can be liberated from disunity and evolve into a more balanced and healthy expression.
Do feel free to leave in the comments section your thoughts on masculine – feminine polarity and unity.
Thanks for reading. I’ll be back with more mystical convo soon. In the meantime, wishing you all peace and wellbeing.