One of my favorite symbols along with the flower of life and of course the heart symbol is the Yin Yang icon. For many years I studied the Asian cultures philosophy and health systems in my journey as a massage therapist and herbalist. During this time the teaching of the yin/yang principles were applied directly either working on the human body or using plant tonics and medicines.
I have found that in my own personal life, and especially with my form of “nature art”, that these contrasting forces are equally important in my continued quest for growth and expansion as a creative being here on planet earth.
The Yin and Yang of Mandala Making
Because of the temporary nature of my art, time is always a factor. Creating a nature mandala means going into meditation and agreeing to surrender to the task at hand. I have a small window of several hours with which to craft my design before things dry up, the lighting changes or the weather has its way. I happen to love this aspect because it embraces a sacred time/space reality that must be grounded and focused in order to achieve an end result.
The journey through this process embodies a mode of Yin energy I very much enjoy. By surrendering to the moment a state of serenity is attained and I am absorbed by shape, color and texture of the natural materials I am co-creating with. I‘m in a meditative trance most of the time, not actually thinking about “time”, just me breathing with the earth and the tactile nature paint that is provided. I highly recommend it for any of you with the urge to clear the mind, get outdoors and get creative. For me it is a necessary balance from the digital world wide web “mandala” that can sometimes overwhelm the psyche.
”Yin creates Yang and Yang activates Yin.” -famous Chinese saying
“Your work is to go forth into this physical environment looking for things that are a vibrational match to joy, connecting to Source Energy, and then following with the inspired action.” -Abraham
The Yin of actual meditation and act of sitting in stillness also helps me prepare for the activity of Yang. The Yang aspect is physical and involves exploring nature spaces, nooks and crannies, harvesting baskets of acorns or bushels of grass, climbing trees to get mistletoe or picking up shells on a beach before the tide reclaims them. When these actions are inspired from the incubation of Yin energy, these activities are synchronized and ecstatically playful. I feel connected to the world, connected to oneness and the unity of all creation.
One of my favorite quotes about the Yin Yang principle is from the Yellow Emperors’s Classic of Internal Medicine, written around the time of Confucius:
“The principle of Yin and Yang is the basis of the entire universe. It is the principle of everything in creation. It brings about transformation to parenthood; it is the root and source of life and death. Heaven was created by an accumulation of Yang; the Earth was created by an accumulation of Yin. The ways of Yin and Yang are to the left and to the right. Water and fire are the symbols of Yin and Yang. Yin and Yang are the source of power and the beginning of everything in creation. Yang ascends to Heaven; Yin descends to Earth. Hence the universe (Heaven and Earth) represents motion and rest, controlled by the wisdom of Nature. Nature grants the power to beget and to grow, to harvest and to store, to finish and to begin anew. Everything in creation is covered by Heaven and supported by the Earth.”
Yin and Yang Symbol – The Ebb and Flow
I really enjoy the phrase “ebb and flow.” It represents to me the quality of impermanence and constant fluctuations between the states of Yin and Yang that I feel are a necessary part of personal evolution. In other words, sometimes we need to get OUT of balance to learn how to get back INTO balance. We learn about “what we want” by “what we don’t want.” You need negative space to see the positive space, you need darkness to contrast the light, you need the major keys and the minor keys to create harmonious musical sounds.… etc, etc.
One of my favorite quotes by Rumi is: “Life is a balance of holding on and letting go.”
In my own life this is about finding, through contrasting experiences, what serves my higher self and letting go what doesn’t. I believe that this is the secret to the continued growth and evolution of the human species… learning from our mistakes, making the necessary improvements and accepting the non-joyful experiences in our lives as opportunities to create more joyous ones. In this way we can form our own “life mandala” that is an exciting adventure filled with endless and blissful expansion.