Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Yin and Yang

According to the I Ching, or the Book of Changes, the Chinese believe there are two cosmic forces, Yin and Yang, two opposing yet complementary energies that shape the universe and everything in it. It can also express as “polarity” which is similar to a bipolar magnetic field. That is, it is of two parts: one creating an exertion and one receiving the exertion.

The yin and yang accomplish changes in the universe through the five materials agents or “elements” in feng shui (metal, wood, water, fire and earth/soil), which produce one another and overcome one another. In general, all phenomena can be understood using yin-yang and the five agents. For example, under yang are the principles of male, the sun, creation, heat, light, Heaven and so on; while under ying are the principles of female, the moon, completion, cold, darkness etc. Each of these opposites produces the other: Heaven creates the ideas of things under yang; the earth produces their material forms under yin, and vice versa. This production of yin and yang and yang and yin occurs cyclically and constantly. Together yin and yang constitute a balance whole known as Tao – or “the Way” – the eternal principle of heaven and earth in harmony.

Thus, achieving good feng shui results has much to do with balancing the yin and yang elements in our environments. Lillian Too, a feng shui consultant, in her book, “The Complete Illustrated Guide to Feng Shui” make a telling point:

"Because the intangible forces that determine environment balance are continually changing, practitioners of feng shui must constantly alert to the alternations – whether they are man-made or caused by natural phenomena… it requires constant adaptation, and a true feng shui practitioner will be constantly alert to the need for change."

In recent times, the air pollution problems that contribute to the depletion of the ozone layer have shows that the world has lost its balance of yin and yang. More environmental problems have cropped up of late. For instance, the polar ice caps are melting faster, the world’s forest is being depleted; pollution is spreading fast, a lot of species of animal life are on the brink of extinction. In short, all this shows that the force of nature are often no longer in harmony with the presence of Earth’s most destructive occupant, which is the severe weather changes in different parts of the world. Furthermore, the pollution problem in modern industrialization had affected the forces of air and water (which are the masters of change); therefore, it is only natural for the elements to spread these contaminants with the changes that they bring.

In his book “The Way to Harmony Feng Shui”, Albert Low illustrated that:

"In feng shui, it is said that to disturb the Heavens and Earth, and to throw them out of harmony with the natural order of things, is like pushing the living Dragon down a steep, high cliff. If the powerful Dragon decided to fight back, Man must be very careful with his next move, because the angry creature would surely unleash a terrible vengeance on the offenders."

With the main emphasis on keeping the yin and yang in harmony with our environment, I think to a certain extent, we can label feng shui as the oldest form of “environmental science” or “green science”!

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