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The Healing Power of Yin’s Darkness – Donna Quesada

by Donna Quesada: We live in a world in which “doing” is emphasized. The notion to stay productive is threaded into our musculoskeletal structure.

We set our alarms, and we jump up and rush… into the light and into the world of motion.

I am a morning person. There is nothing like the fresh, pure energy of a new day. And it’s satisfying to accomplish our tasks and do a job well. I am not on a mission to denounce productivity, but rather to restore what has been lost in the shuffle of overproduction.

The “doing” is the Yang to the Yin in our lives. Yang is active. Yang is light and bright. It is masculine. It’s the fire in our belly. It pushes and it moves. It makes things grow. It’s the sun and the wind, and all things that flow, like the movement of the rivers and the circulation of our own blood within. Yin on the other hand, is passive. It is dark and still. It’s the wise, old moon, and its reflection on the water, when it’s still. It is feminine and it waits without waiting. It knows its power without needing to prove anything. It allows without ever forcing.

We haven’t been taught to reside in Yins presence. Or to trust this way of knowing.

And so, we, as individuals and as a culture, often feel out of balance. Out-of-balance feels like anxiety. We feel nervous and strung out, without exactly knowing why. But ironically, when we stop, we feel bored, and so we get busy again. We can’t handle the not-doing.

We’re just not used to it. Like a climber who hasn’t given himself time to get acclimated to the altitude. We just need to create a regular place for stillness in our lives, so that it becomes a friend.

Yin and Yang are not competitive. These forces that contain and operate the entire universe can’t live without each other. They are mutually dependent. You can’t have one without the other, or else the whole system will collapse.

Inside of us is a miniature version of this system, governed by the same forces. We are microcosms of the entire universe. And to live in a healthy state of balance, we need to welcome and embrace the differing speeds of life. We need both Yin and Yang. Like the seasons, which offer time for action and time for repose, we need to embrace the shift from doing to allowing… and back around again.

But like history at large, the masculine, or the Yang, has been prioritized. The doing has been valued at the expense of the feminine counterpoint.

Yin is the mother. She often teaches in quiet, mysterious ways. And her most beautiful treasures are hidden.

When I was a little girl, I loved to find special hiding spots in my grandmother’s old home. It was probably smaller than it seemed to me at the time, but to me then, it felt labyrinthine, with secret compartments, and dark, hidden places to discover where no one could find me.

I didn’t feel scared of the dark. I felt cozy and safe.

The Yin finds respite in the nooks and crannies. She befriends the shadows. She discovers the light in the darkness. Just like the white dot in the concentrated black pool of the Yin-Yang symbol, known as the Taiji-tu. Because the Yin looks within, rather than without. It finds solace in its own resources, rather than in the chaos of the world.

In our lives now, as adults, we can make time for this… To lay ourselves down in our own private hiding spot. And let it be dark! There is a healing presence there in the absence of light. Like a little wintering of the soul… a sacred space, a sanctuary, where things can mend themselves on their own…. where we can give ourselves over to the silent strength of the divine feminine… the Yin. As a compost disappears into the depths of the soil, our minor everyday traumas mollify in her healing arms and we can be reborn anew.

The caterpillar knows well the sanctuary of the dark, cozy place. Within the confines of the chrysalis, an unimaginable journey takes place. A caterpillar all but consumes itself and then disappears into an enzymatic bath of its own making, leaving only specialized groups of cells which will organize themselves into the body parts of what will emerge as a butterfly. This whole far-fetched process requires darkness. And a willingness to surrender to the mysterious process that is life.

Lying down in the darkness, we turn away from the dazzling lights, the images, the advertisements that set out to seduce, and the commotion of other peoples’ gaze and opinions. We withdraw from the noise of our own thinking mind, and instead sink down… down into our body … down into the roots… where the silence of the inner landscape enables a regeneration of spirit.


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