Men’s Work: Synthesizing the Yin and the Yang

Posted by on Feb 15, 2012 in Shadow Work

Men’s Work: Synthesizing the Yin and the Yang

Robert Bly writes in A Little Book on the Human Shadow “So a decision taken privately, as part of one’s inner life, to fight the dark side of oneself…can cause ‘the conscious’ and ‘the unconscious’ to take up adversary positions; and the adversary positions can quickly spread to foreign policy, and influence decisions.”

How many times a day do we come to a moment in our lives where we feel conflicted about a choice put in front of us? Or, let’s say we’ve made a choice and when action is taken it seems to have the opposite of our desired effect, maybe a diminished one. As  we walk the path of our lives and develop distinct personalities with which we identify, we also de-identify with aspects of our whole selves. We create a shadow. This shadow has the power to undo what we consciously will ourselves to do.

Take a look around. Every thing that has a physical presence on this earth has a shadow. Human consciousness is capable of finding meaning in this. For example, if the sun hits a mountain, it only hits one side at a time. There is a light side and a dark side. In Taosim, these sides are described as Yin (dark) and Yang (light). Naturally, throughout the day and the seasons, the Yin and Yang will shift. But the whole mountain remains. The Yin and the Yang are always connected in their dance.

I believe our work as human beings with human consciousness is to look inside ourselves where we have willed the Yin and Yang to separate and invite them to dance together again. Just as getting to know our neighbors as a person changes the way we think and feel about them, when our Yin and Yang can dance and be in communication with each other we’re able to create a deeper authentic expression of ourselves and take a step toward embodied wholeness.

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