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Excerpt from "Feng Shui For Life. Connecting The Dots"

The Yin-Yang Duality

by Gisela H. Stehr


The yin-yang duality is a subject that has puzzled me ever since I started on my feng shui journey. I see its dynamics behind every action and every event. On a large scale, it is being played out in the political arena. It lies behind the entire concept of good and evil. It seems like we are continuously tossed about between these two poles, and I keep wondering why it causes so much havoc in our everyday dealings. The term yin-yang duality has come to me through my studies of feng shui. It is through my deeper and now consistent dialogue with the I Ching that I recognize the immensity of the yin-yang concept. Everything can be narrowed down to this duality, whether it concerns relationships, money matters, or raising children. Johndennis Govert best captures its essence in his book Feng Shui: Art and Harmony of Place when he says: “If you want to live whole heartedly again, you have to learn to walk between the magnetic fields of yin and yang.”xiii

 

Johndennis Govert’s book was one of the first feng shui books I ever read, and this sentence caught my attention right away and has been with me ever since. At the beginning I couldn’t completely grasp its meaning, and it continues to challenge me in my understanding of the yin-yang dynamics. As I penetrate deeper into the mysteries of feng shui, it resurfaces over and over again on my personal journey through life. This one simple phrase encapsulates all of life’s meanings and was recognized as such by the ancients. The yin-yang principle represents the underlying concept of the life force qi and of true change, the symbol for continuous transformation. The yin-yang duality has been interpreted and played out in many ways over thousands of years, and now glares at us in the twenty-first century in its crudest interpretation and begs us to allow it to be transcended and understood for what it really represents.

 

My feng shui teacher and mentor, William Spear, introduced the concept to us as the “unifying principle of harmonizing opposites.” Yin and yang are to be understood as complementary forces that enforce each other, rather than fight each other. The emphasis lies on unifying in the process of creating balance; at the same time, yin and yang are representative of two completely different but complementary aspects. This definition takes the concept of adversity out of the equation, as it doesn’t belong there in the first place. Over the many centuries, this aspect of adversity has been blown out of proportion and has nowadays found expression in the most extreme ways. “If you are not for me, you are against me” is a phrase that best demonstrates this very fact. We have lost sight of the possibility of a middle ground. We have lost sight of the joy that is generated by finding the right balance, by engaging in the continually moving dance, “the walk between the magnetic fields of yin and yang.” It is a delicate dance, that, when you engage yourself wholeheartedly, will enable you to bring about the appropriate balance for any given situation. Carol Anthony and Hanna Moog describe the movement of the yin and yang toward each other as “a dance that is felt as an inspiring enthusiasm.”xiv

 

Yin and yang are inherent in all matter, in all there is. They need to be understood as a dynamic pair of complementing rather than opposing forces that are both part of all processes. Where there is yin, there is yang; the one already carries the seed of the other within. Hence the black dot at the source of the white field and the white dot at the source of the black field. Where there is a mountain, there is a valley and everything in between. Light has validity only as defined through the existence of dark. A hard surface is defined by its soft counterpart. Yin and yang compound each other, layer upon layer, and thus the continuum of existence is upheld and continually expanded. All you need to do is engage yourself wholeheartedly in the delicate dance of this dynamic pair and allow yourself to be carried by its momentum. Bringing about the appropriate balance and harmony for any given situation will then come naturally and with ease.

 

A more detailed view of the yin-yang duality is the principle of the five elements—Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water, also referred to as the five transformations. The five elements are not to be seen separate from each other, just like yin and yang are not to be separated from each other. They are engaged in a constant interplay with each other. The delicate balancing of all five elements, according to the forces at work in any given situation, is what brings about harmony. Creating harmony in this sense means to identify the energetics at play and to allow mutual resonance to be established as is most beneficial for the desired outcome. Just as the yin always contains the seed of the yang, and the yang always contains the seed of the yin within, each element contains a spark of the other.  The five elements are one of the most powerful tools in the intuitive practice of feng shui, as they truly represent a bridge between the inner and outer worlds. They run the gamut from mere physical representation in form, shape, and color to deep emotional content, our feelings.

 

Gisela H. Stehr was born and raised in Germany, where she got her bachelor degree in French and English language and literature. This field brought her to the United States, where she went on to earn a master’s degree in architecture from the University of Oregon. She practiced architecture for over ten years. Her long-time interest in Oriental philosophy and culture, combined with her genuine desire to reflect the deeper aspects of life in the creation of our immediate environments, led her to study the ancient art of feng shui. She eventually became a certified practitioner of Intuitive Feng Shui® under the tutelage of William Spear, author of the international bestseller Feng Shui Made Easy. A consultant and teacher for more than twenty years, Stehr is founder and director of the Emerald Feng Shui Institute in Seattle WA, where she currently teaches and hosts a variety of seminars and training programs in feng shui and related subjects. Stehr is available for consultations for both private residences and small businesses. You can purchase the book from my website via a direct link to amazon.com: www.cre8tivefengshui.com/wp/publications/feng-shui-for-life-book. It is also available on kindle. Gisela Stehr can be reached at 206-526-0513or via email at cre8tivefengshui@q.com


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