Continuing Exploration

Polarities

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In practicing Tai Chi we are concerned with yin/yang. This is the most basic illustration of polar relationships. When considering yin/yang many fundamental aspects of polar opposites become evident. The first thing is that polarities are always relative. There is no essential yin just as there is no essential down. Yin relates to yang as down relates to up. They are connected and mutually dependent. They cannot exist independently. They are always in comparison to one another.  They are not on/off like light switches, they are dimmers. A cup that is ¾ full is yin compared to one that is full but yang compared to one that is ½ full. To illustrate another aspect of polarity the analogy of the cup will be very helpful. It is the age old debate of whether a cup is ½ empty or ½ full. We often relate to this as a choice as to how we perceive it. And this choice illustrates an aspect of our personality. But the choice is a misperception. There is no need to choose, as emptiness and fullness are arbitrary states in the case of the cup containing a median level of liquid. The distinction is made when we view the cup in process. And in process emptiness and fullness become evident. The cycle of emptying and filling is laid bare and we can see the transitions. And the transitions are what yield power. When we empty the cup, we create space to be used. We also use the beverage. When we fill the cup we create a reservoir from which to draw. We build the potential and then we actualize it.

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