The Yin & Yang of Good & Evil

yin yang symbol

The concept of Yin & Yang is as beautiful as it is straightforward. By now, the symbol is known all across the globe and the depth of its meaning has inspired many truth-seekers. Yet some of its aspects remain quite misunderstood. One of the biggest misconceptions is, for example, the idea that Yin & Yang would also apply to good & evil.

As everybody knows, Yin & Yang symbolise the fact that there's a universal balance between all opposites. Small & big, poor & rich, male & female, dark & light, decay & growth, and so on. But good & evil do not fit this series. This can easily be seen when the spiritual meaning of Yin & Yang is thought through.

The main spiritual realisation the symbol of Yin & Yang offers, is of course the idea that one should not get attached to one of the two, because there is a Yin & Yang side to everything and they always need each other. The symbol learns us that balance in one's own life can be found when we're able to allow both the Yin & Yang to exist, and to accept the natural flow between them. Yet it does not show spiritual insight when one says: “Ah well, good and bad will always be there, just like light and dark, just like male and female, just like all things Yin or Yang.” When taken in its true value, the concept of Yin & Yang leads us to quite the opposite conclusion. Good & evil do not belong in it, because they only become an issue at the moment the balance between Yin & Yang is disregarded.

Good & evil originate when somebody starts adding more value to certain things that are simply Yin or Yang. Good & evil are called into existence when some Yin or Yang is forcefully impeded to evolve into its opposite.

Let me give a couple of examples: It doesn't really matter whether a country is big or small, but to wage wars simply to have more land or more resources is evil. Some people become rich and some are poor, that's an economic fact, but to aggressively keep other people poor out of greed is wrong. Being male or female is, in itself, simply a difference but to assume more importance or power because of one's gender disrupts a relationship. Light and dark are inevitable opposites, but to discriminate people on the basis of their skin colour is injustice. There's a time of growth and a time of decay but to always run after profit and expansion does not only bring stress in one's own life, it also uproots one's ecological and social surroundings.

Evil or Injustice aren't a part of Yin & Yang, because they disrupt the balance and divine flow of things. They aren't examples of Yin & Yang but a threat to it.

So my message here is twofold. Firstly, it's obvious that we should indeed learn from the Yin & Yang symbol what it has taught us for centuries: Things change and people are different. We should let them change and let them be different. For that's exactly what creates the dynamics called 'life'. It makes you quite a lot happier to just accept it and to adapt to the flow of Yin & Yang. Seeing the equality of Yin & Yang gives balance in one's own being. But secondly, those who already learned this spiritual truth should not confuse the flow of harmony and the balance of life with the dynamics of good vs. bad. Injustice is a disruption of the balance and as such it should always be countered. The symbol of Yin & Yang is therefore also a spiritual reminder that we should always try to restore the balance if it has been blocked – in our society, our relational life as well as our inner selves.

The only Yin & Yang of good & evil is that sometimes you need little effort to protect the balance and sometimes more.

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