Part of what the ‘Me Too’ movement and the resurgence of Indigenous wisdom teachings have in common, is that they are both a powerful signal of a revival of Yin energy in the world. The relatively quiet, more gentle voices of indigenous people and women have grown louder and louder in recent years. Yin as an energy represents inner life, in contrast to Yang, which is about the external world. Right now we are seeing that the external world is in total chaos, and yet how we view the outer world, is through the lens of our inner world reference points. When we shift our view we can change our life.
Yin and Yang as the Creative – Controlling Powers of Life
Yin and Yang balance each other as complementary opposites of life, like sunny days and dark nights. Yang as an energy is about speed, growth, consumption, competition, reaching up and expanding. As our environmental conversations attest, Yang, ‘the over-use and over-doing it’ pattern’ has reached its zenith. We have over extended ourselves to a tipping point which naturally gives way to its opposite. By contrast, the Way of Yin is about going slow, conservation, preservation, collaboration, support, going within and gathering. It is interesting that Covid has come along this year with a clear instruction to ‘go inside’, ’slow down’ and ‘stay home’, all Yin ways of being.
Yin is associated with feminine energy, the Moon, Water and Mother Earth. This in contrast to yang which is more like the Sun, Fire and Father Sky. Earth is deep, and like gravity Yin Power pulls us down and inwards. Like roots of a plant, when we draw from our deep energy source, we will find unlimited power. Yin by nature has a contracted, grounded energy which can tend to make we women hold back our power. We might feel it and know it and yet fail to act on what we know. Too much holding back leads to doubt, then the mind gets involved, overthinking leads to worry and then we’ve lost the momentum !
Part of the Moon’s magic is her mystery. She has a soft, subtle energy which is magnetic, alluring and attractive. Yin energy, like the moon, is cyclical. It rises and falls like the tides, it is circular and meandering. It has a natural gathering power which, like water when dammed, can be harnessed. Learning to nourish the roots of our being, gathering our power and then get into free-flow releases all that potency. Like water, Yin Power when directed can wear down even the hardest rock !
Awakening to Step by Step Living
In the world right now it is obvious and highly visible that the time for excessive male dominance, ‘me first’, and the ‘power over’ vertical power structure is not working. As many of us can now clearly see, the Emperor has no clothes! This is something we can no longer deny, it’s in the daily news and talked about around the world. At this time of mass global awakening, everything that we have been avoiding, our social, emotional, mental and material world crises, are in our faces. Our problems may seem insurmountable, and yet, like our ancestors before us, we will face this challenge, live on, grow and evolve.
Lao Tzu says “The Journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step” This recognition of step by step living is also the natural way of indigenous people. The land-based traditions of indigenous people have shown us that to survive, we need to learn to ‘track’ our movements through life, and pay attention to the signs. Certainly in the world today there are abundant signs that we have been ‘off track’ for far too long. We have ignored the early signals and have now been slammed with a ‘wake up everybody’ alarm call !
Where to start and what can we do ?
Thinking globally and acting locally can be a useful compass for this time. It is time for us all to clean up our own lives and back yards, and attend to what needs clearing. Look around at who we can help, put out our hands to help, and if needed reach for some help. The beautiful thing about a time of crisis is that when we accept our position we will find solutions we never dreamed were possible.
Ancient wisdom traditions and indigenous ways of being point a way through this time. Looking for how are connected through our common points of unity and seeking to live in harmony will shift us out of the ‘compete and compare’ paradigm. This collaborative, group-oriented way, which is also the natural way of women and indigenous people, is about following our instincts, supporting each other, and organising together.
Engaging Yin Ways of Being
Our knowing of how to be, and how to navigate our life’s continuous changes is deep in our bones, and yet our educational conditioning has programmed us to think we should always know the answers to life problems and the pathway. Cross cultural anthropologist, Angeles Arrien, identified four ways of being that are common to all indigenous people. The “Four Fold Ways” are to: “Show up and Choose to be Present” “Pay Attention to what has Heart and Meaning”, “Stay Open, Not Attached to Outcome” and “Tell the Truth without Blame and Judgement”.
Living by these ways of being is about Nourishing the Roots/Yin of our being. When we are more receptive, we create room for the Big Spirit behind all of our life. Learning to become available to each moment empowers us to partner the universe and attend to what it wants from us. Listening to our Heart and following her way invites more genuine connection to ourselves and others. When we are head and Heart aligned we are more able to live in the place of not knowing and engage with ‘the Mystery’ of life. Staying connected to the Heart helps us to speak our truth, collapse patterns of indulgence and denial, and engage our deep, often hidden, quiet Yin power.