Sayer Ji
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Medicine and the Dao, Part II: The Macrocosmic-Microcosmic Forces Driving the Rise of the Feminine

Medicine and the Dao, Part II: The Macrocosmic-Microcosmic Forces Driving the Rise of the Feminine

Part II.

Centuries ago, we started a trajectory that brought us far yang.  Now, we are on a trajectory to reclaim the feminine.

 

In Medicine and the Dao: Part I, we explored the Dao as an explanation for why we seem to have a divide in medicine:  masculine (pharmaceuticals and surgery) versus feminine (natural medicines).  In this article, we will look more closely at how the Dao is divided into Yin and Yang.  We will see why the future of medicine lies not solely with the feminine or merely in the masculine, but in a combined, cooperative approach to integrative medicine. 

 

Like many, I have been fascinated by the Yin-Yang symbol ever since I was a young and for no apparent reason.  I simply “liked” it.  But of course, there was much more going on there than mere affinity.  Like the Dao, the Yin-Yang resonates on a powerful intuitive level, communicating vast amounts of information in one image. 

 

At the bottom of the Yin-Yang symbol, there is an unshaded area (yang) that rises up on the left.  As it grows, it becomes fuller.  At its greatest fullness, the height of the symbol, the “tail” of the shaded area (yin) begins to appear.  This shaded area increases in opposite proportion to the diminishing yang all the way to the bottom of the symbol, where yin is in its fullness. 

 

Yin-yang demonstrates the rise of the masculine becoming the rise of the feminine, and the rise of the feminine leading to the rise of the masculine.  When each reaches its zenith, it turns into the other.  In other words, they create each other.  To see this phenomenon in nature, we can look at the seasons.  The peak of summer (yang) is the pivot that marks the return of winter (yin).  In nearly every ancient and modern religious tradition, the winter solstice, the darkest night of the year, has actually been a celebration of the return of the light. 

Yin and yang not only create each other, they contain each other.  In the yin-yang symbol, have you ever wondered about that little dot of opposite color within each color?  It is not just for aesthetics.  It is because where yin or yang is fullest, there is actually the greatest concentration of the opposite force.  Think of the earth.  She is almost always referenced as a yin element – as Mother Earth or Gaia.  Yet, within her she holds a powerful core of fire. 

 

Now we see why feminine medicines are on the rise:  we have reached a “high point” of yang.

 

For many centuries, human beings lived close to the earth.  Our laws were based on our religions (yin, receptive, unknowable).  In these ways, we were more connected to the feminine.  And though we were grateful for life, we yearned to pull ourselves away from Nature’s perils.  Because our external existence was filled with yin, our inner lives were highly yang:  we lived not for the material world (yin), but for the spiritual world (yang).  We embodied an external life of yin with a concentrated core of yang.

 

And then it happened.  Just when it looked like we were doomed to the plagues and viruses of our overcrowded, nature-based lifestyle, we discovered science. 

 

Science was an explosion of yang:  intellectual, data-driven, and active.  With science, we realized that we could separate ourselves from the bugs and poop and darkness of Nature.  We created medicines and protocols that did not require decades (yin) of meditative contemplation, but a few years (yang) of study.  We found a new way of knowing (intellectual) that trumped the old way of knowing (meditative or intuitive). 

 

Within decades, science rose to replace religion as our dominant truth-seeking and belief-founding system.  We began an unparalleled and progressive age of rapid (yang) development in virtually every field.  We created electricity, motor vehicles, plumbing, and industrial production.  We gave our most physical jobs to machines and robots and began working more and more out of our heads. We confined the wilderness to parks where we could dabble in her without getting too dirty.  We encased ourselves in non-breathable materials and began ingesting non-organic matter.  We consumed vast quantities of the earth’s resources and erected sprawling housing developments, spreading ourselves like the very microbes we feared.  We even created a whole new field, an extremely yang field -- the internet and cyberspace -- where things could happen lightning-quick. 

 

In many ways, we greatly improved our lives.  And yet, we created a huge problem.

 

Because our society quickly became consumed with yang.  When we rejected the yin (silence and nature) in favor of the yang (super-fast fixes to problems and a go-go-go business attitude), we became plagued with diseases caused by stress and over-activity.  Our yang-dominant society discovered that it could no longer relax without alcohol or drugs.  And cancer (an extremely yang disease) began to run rampant. 

 

This is why medical doctors are embracing functional medicine.  Why physicians are referring to acupuncturists and therapists are recommending meditation.  We are beginning to see that a life of pure yang is simply not sustainable.  It does not reflect Nature.  It is not the way of the Dao.  It runs contrary to the principles of Life.

 

As discussed in Part I, life requires yang and yin.   When yin and yang separate, there is death.  In yang dominance, the only way for life to continue is for yang to turn back into yin.  For the inner core of yin to grow so concentrated that it forces a pivot back in the other direction. 

 

And that, friends, is exactly where we are -- and why there is hope. 

 

Yes, our society is one of yang-driven consumers.  Yes, from all appearances, we seem to be obsessed with the material and have lost touch with our spiritual nature.  But that is not quite true.  Within us, there grows an untapped, concentrated longing and capacity for quiet wisdom such as the world has never seen.  It is this growing concentration of yin that has left us unsatisfied with our yang-only lives.  At our zenith of yang, we are now ready to re-embrace yin.

 

We see this reflected in every business sector.  From travel to fashion to health, we yearn to get back to Nature.  Everyone is talking about the earth.  About sustainability.  About how we can rescue our gut biome and our planet’s biome.  We are realizing that poop – a big part of our initial health problem – might now be part of our health salvation.  Yoga studios are commonplace.  Harvard has studied the benefits of meditation.  Acupuncturists are being hired by the military.  Without understanding any of the reasons why are doing what we are doing, we have already begun to fix our imbalance.

 

And that is why we must become aware of it.

 

Unaware, we humans tend to swing from one extreme to another like a pendulum.  Centuries ago, we started a trajectory that brought us far yang.  Now, we are on a trajectory to reclaim the feminine.  Some players in mainstream medicine are hesitant to fully endorse yin medicine.  They fear that we might swing too far in the other direction.  But, we do not need to fear this misstep if we become aware of what we are doing and why.   When we become aware of our imbalances and the forces that push us to correct them, we see that we do, in fact, need to re-incorporate yin into our lives.  Aware, we can re-integrate yin medicines wisely.  We can bring yin and yang medicines together in mutual respect and curiosity and effect amazing results.

 

Fifty years ago, you couldn’t have found an image of the Dao in mainstream culture if you tried.  But fifty years ago, we were not where we are today.  We are at a turning point, and if we are wise, we will turn with the energies that move us.  We will not fight the rise of yin medicine and we will not treat yang medicine like an old despot.  We will not try to dominate each other; we will try to honor each other.  We will remember that yin and yang are never about better or worse.  We will remember that they are always about proper time and place. 

As a people, we are growing more enlightened in our perspectives and beliefs.   We are a diverse people, learning to become an inclusive people.  We are a people learning to love all aspects of ourselves.  It is time for us to love all of our medicines, too.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its staff.

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Sayer Ji
Founder of GreenMedInfo.com

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