The Tai Chi symbol, sometimes called the Yin Yang symbol, represents totality or wholeness. It encompasses all the opposites within it. It includes darkness and light, the curving shape showing how they change from one to the other and fit in harmony with each other.
Within the darkness there is a seed of light and within the light a seed of darkness. Yin and Yang are not considered to be opposites, but merely reflections, or different aspects of the same quality. In order to know light, you need to know darkness. One example of the nature of Yin and Yang is represented by day and night. Day changes into night and night gives way to day. There is a smooth and continuous transition from one to the other. Within the night, there is still light, the moon and stars, and within light there is still some darkness created by shadows. Yin and Yang represent the natural balance and harmony in the world and the constant change that is taking place.
Within the Tai Chi form we seek that balance and harmony, between strength and flowing movement, between power and softness, between left and right and between Heaven and earth. We feel the constant movement and change, yet also we feel the stillness inside. When we stand in stillness, we feel the energy moving inside. When we move we feel the weight shifting from one side to the other, we feel ourselves drawn up but remain well grounded. We seek to find a middle path which balances all these qualities.
Through the Tai Chi form we learn how bring balance and harmony into our lives. Physical balance, balance within our bodies, balanced thought and a balance between our spiritual and earthly existence. In this way we bring peace and love into our lives.
In our Tai Chi the following are the aspects of Yin and Yang:
Yin: Stillness, Left, Earth, Gentleness, Softness, Feminine, Down, Coolness, Passive, Internal
Yang: Movement, Right, Heaven, Strength, Power, Masculine, Up, Heat, Active, External
The Philosophy of Yin and Yang tells us that there is no constancy in the world and that we should not expect it. We should learn to go with the flow, respecting nature and the natural cycles, being at one with nature. More deeply the philosophy teaches us to respect all aspects of the world. It teaches that there is no right or wrong just different aspects of the same thing. We can either see the world as whole and complete or we sit on one side and judge the other as different. Rather than judging, we should learn to respect and appreciate all things. Light is not better than darkness, white is not better than black, love is not better than fear, activity is not better than inactivity, male is not better than female, We learn to give up our prejudices and recognise that there is a time and a place for everything. The seed shows that even when we portray one aspect we still retain an element of the other. When we dislike a quality in someone else it is perhaps because we recognise that deep down that quality is also within us.