One of the most profound symbols we have on this planet is the ancient Chinese yin/yang symbol. If you spend some time with it, it will reveal some very essential keys to a life well-lived.
Take a moment and really look at it. Can you see how the dark and the light are nestled together? They aren’t at war with one another. In fact, they literally complement each other.
What this symbol is saying is something so often overlooked – that both dark and light are essential in life. If you observe your mind closely, you will see that it usually wants to hold onto the light side of life. It doesn’t want all of the delicious parts to go away. In fact, it wants MORE! And it thinks your life will be perfect if you can just nail it down.
When life flows again into the dark, we fight it, we resist it, we blame, we judge, we feel betrayed and oftentimes lost. But Life is a dance of light and dark. At the atomic level, every single atom has a positive and negative charge. So, too, with your body. Your heart valves open and close and your lungs expand and contract. The same is true for day and night, cold and hot, winter and summer. Life always opens and closes.
Resisting the dark causes such suffering. But if you look closely at the symbol, you will see one of its most profound messages – there is a point of light in the dark! What would happen if we all understood that darkness is not what it looks like on the surface? The darkness in your life (your challenges) is not here because you have done something wrong, because someone else has done something wrong, or because God is punishing you. It is an essential part of your journey through this schoolroom of life.
The difficult aspects of life – illness, loss, compulsions, betrayal, shame, abuse, and even death – all come bearing great gifts that will reveal themselves when you can let go of resisting what is being offered and become curious instead. Bringing curiosity and compassion to the difficult aspects of life opens you beyond suffering so you can be present for all of life.
You can continue to chase happiness by trying to get life the way you want it to be, hoping to find the peace and ease you long for by holding onto the lighter aspects of life and resisting the dark. But, this is insanity. It only keeps you caught in a mind that always wants what is not and doesn’t want what is. This kind of mind can’t see that what you deeply long for is always with you, no matter what is happening.
So I invite you to remember the yin/yang symbol when challenges arise, and trust that whatever life is offering you, it is an essential part of your journey back into being fully alive, which is our birthright and the greatest joy of all.