DAY 24: YIN, YANG and FOOD, oh my! (Macrobiotics Part 1)
FREEDOM and FOOD.
I wanted to do another segment on food, especially macrobiotics but as it turned out, I knew nothing about it. So, I brought in the big guns, Carly!!! She not only knows this stuff but lived it. It changed her life in unimaginable ways. What’s cool is that she began this post with Yin and Yang, something I’ve been wanting to write about for a while. This will be a two parter. She gives you a lot of information upfront, so please take time to digest it. This is chalked full of brilliant information. Here is Carly:
Sounds somewhat intriguing, no?! Or maybe you’re just thinking, ‘What’s the relation? Well, please read on…
Thanks to Bryce’s Grand Experiment, we’ve been introduced to a number of amazingly wonderful tools that we can choose from in our quest to lead a happier more fearless, loving, full and balanced life, and really experience freedom – physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually – on a daily basis.
The first time I truly experienced life-changing freedom was through food about 4 years ago. To better understand the connection, let me introduce you to MACROBIOTICS and the 12 LAWS OF CHANGE OF THE INFINITE UNIVERSE. (I know you’re thinking, ‘12 laws of who? Come again?!’ Bear with me - I promise it will all make sense.)
To do it justice – and avoid reinventing the wheel – I call upon Jessica Porter, Macrobiotic enthusiast and author of The Hip Chick’s Guide to Macrobiotics – guys you can read it too!
In her book, Jessica explains the connection between freedom and food perfectly:
“…what you put in your mouth has a direct impact on your freedom – physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. We can eat in ways that repress our life force, making us into passive automatons within our culture. Or we can eat to be free, connected, and responsive to the large natural world that created us, and continues to create us.”
And how do you go about doing that, you ask?! According to Jessica:
“The more we eat natural foods and understand the laws of the universe, the more our spirits play freely within it.”
“Macro” meaning large and “bio” meaning life, is a philosophy on how to live a large, rich life “by understanding the grand forces that govern us – basically the pulse of the universe”. The grand forces are YIN and YANG, and they are responsible for “creating the natural world, your body, the food you eat, and everything else in your environment. By recognizing and understanding yin and yang, you can make food and lifestyle choices that help you harmonize with the bigger picture”.
“YIN force is expansive and produces certain qualities in nature, foods, and people, while
YANG force is contractive and produces the opposite qualities in the world. YIN and YANG are IT. Every single thing in the universe can be seen through the lens of these opposites, expansion and contraction: nature, humans, ideas, art, relationships, sports, history, politics, religion. When this simple template is applied to the world, layers of confusion and concept fall away”.
THE 12 LAWS OF CHANGE OF THE INFINITE UNIVERSE
Law 1: One infinity manifests itself into complementary and antagonistic tendencies, yin and yang, in its endless change. The Infinite Universe (or God, Goddess, Spirit, etc.) – although it’s actually “one” – presents itself to us as two complementary and antagonistic forces (it is the pull between opposites, the charge found in difference), yin and yang, which are always changing over time.
Law 2: Yin and yang are produced infinitely, continuously, and forever from the infinite pure expansion itself. The Infinite Universe creates yin and yang tendencies endlessly in order to keep everything moving and changing. This law claims that the Infinite Universe is always moving, and as manifestations of it, so are we.
Law 3: Yin is centrifugal; yang is centripetal. Yin produces expansion, lightness, cold, darkness. Yang produces constriction, weight, heat, light. Bubbles rising in a champagne flute, the sprouting of a seed, and a mad rush of blood to the cheeks are all examples of the upward, outward, centrifugal force that runs half our reality – Yin. Centripetal force is the exact opposite: a fist closing, a flower dropping, or your trash compactor squeezing a hunk of garbage - Yang. Wherever yin and yang come together, a spiral of energy is created. And spirals are everywhere; from the twisted corkscrew of the galaxy, to the dirty water spinning down your bathtub drain.
Law #4: Yin attracts yang. Yang attracts yin.
Yin and yang always find a way to connect. But they don’t simply attract each other; they literally depend upon each other for anything to exist within the Infinite Universe. For example, yin electrons are attracted to yang protons to make atoms. Yin oxygen loves to interact with yang hydrogen, making water. Yang boys chase yin girls, making romance. The yang iron of our blood attracts the yin oxygen of the air, and, conversely, the yin chlorophyll of a plant’s “blood” attracts the yang carbon dioxide of the air.
Law 5: Yin repels yin. Yang repels yang. There is much repulsion as there is attraction in the universe, and it is totally natural. Repulsion happens whether we like it or not. By acknowledging and accepting it, we experience more freedom, and give it a chance to run its course and then turn into attraction again. For example, you’ve had a long, hard day and you’re feeling tense and contracted (yang). You crave a cocktail (yin), which makes perfect energy sense because yang attracts yin. The first few sips feel wonderful, expanding your arteries, releasing your brain, relaxing your whole body. However, the more you drink the more yin and sloppy you become. Your body eventually, once extremely yin, repels any excess alcohol by projectile vomiting all over the place. Yin repels yin.
Law 6: Nothing is solely yin or yang: everything is composed of both tendencies in varying degrees. If anything were to be solely yang, it would contract into nothingness. Likewise, pure expansion untethered by yang energy, evaporates into nothingness. The earth could not exist if the yang spiral entering at the poles did not reverse itself into a yin spiral. Likewise, we would have no place to sit upon if it were made of only expansive force.
Law 7: All physical manifestations are yang at the center and yin at the periphery.
This law holds true because centripetal force creates the centers of things and centrifugal force creates the peripheries. All physical objects have a center, an energetic tether holding them together. In the human, our surface is made of skin, which is flexible, soft, and extremely expandable, clearly governed by yin. At our physical center is a skeleton, which is hard and contracted, clearly yang.
Law 8: There is nothing neutral: there is always yin or yang in excess.
With respect to cooking and health, this law means that everything has some sort of impact. There is no neutral, free food. Even water has a strong impact on the body. Everything has a charge, either more yin, or more yang, and therefore every single element that you introduce into your cooking shifts the energy somehow.
Law 9: Yin and yang combined in varying proportions produce different phenomena. The attraction and repulsion among phenomena are proportionate to the difference of the yin and yang forces.
Macrobiotics is a comparison game. Nothing is completely yin; it is just more yin than something else. Perhaps it is less yin than another thing, in which case it may even start to look sort of… yang. The degree to which something is yin or yang determines what it attracts and repels. When something is extremely yang, it attracts extreme yin. Moderate yin attracts moderate yang. Imagine a seesaw. The only thing to keep a kid at one end of the seesaw balanced is an equally weighted kid on the other end. When we pull either kid closer to the middle without the other, balance is lost. But it’s all a matter of proportion.
Law 10: All phenomena are ephemeral, constantly changing their constitution of yin and yang forces;yin changes into yang, yang changes into yin.
Law 11: Extreme yin produces yang, and extreme yang produces yin.
These two laws post the greatest challenges to linear, logical Western thinking. Everything eventually becomes its opposite. We already understand that, because the universe produces endless change, nothing stays the same over time. However Law 10 is saying that, as stuff changes, it is not completely random in its metamorphosis. When witnessed over the very long run, it becomes clear that yang things are becoming yin and yin things are becoming yang. Within our lifetimes, we go from a tight, compact spiral in our mother’s womb to a big, tall, fully expressed adult. Later, we contract again, shrinking and shriveling with age. Flowers bloom and die. Even hard rocks become loose sand over time. Moods are good examples of extremes becoming their opposites in Law 11: after the explosion of a heated argument, you feel peaceful and strangely closer to the person with whom you were fighting. A good cry leads to laughter. The frisky, heated buildup of sexual tension climaxes and immediately becomes its opposite of deep relaxation, and sometimes even repulsion. You save your pennies for ten years to buy a home, only to suffer buyer’s remorse a week later. Controlling parents inadvertently create little rebels.
Law 12: Big yin attracts small yin, and big yang attracts small yang.
There is a point where an organism when it is strongly charged in one direction, attracts not only its opposite, but also more of its own. For example, someone who loves salty foods can crave more salt, as opposed to (or as well as) sugar. A guru or a cult attracts a follower. But a follower does not attract an organization. The army attracts more military-minded people. A family pulls its family members into itself. Like-minded people tend to congregate.
Before going further, take a moment and digest what you have just read,
then complete the Quick and Dirty Task 1 for today. A second post will follow.
QUICK AND DIRTY TASK 1
WHAT: As human beings, we are constantly striving to find a happy balance in everything. Given what you’ve just read, open your eyes to the Yin and Yang that govern your world on a daily basis – consider your relationships, career, food, etc. – see it all around you.
Throughout the day consider the questions below then:
- Reflect upon your answers without judgment
- Note the questions in which you would like your answers to change
“Are you free within your own body? Or do you struggle against yourself, mentally and emotionally?
Do you feel a connection to nature? To whatever you call “God”?
Are you free of medication?
Do you experience your creativity in joyous ways?
Are you uninhibited in your sex life?
Do you feel good about your relationships?
Are you ridiculously happy?”
Look for yin and yang all around you - just observe and notice – become aware!
To gain a better understanding and awareness of the forces that govern your world, and how to use that knowledge to your advantage and begin to lead a greater, richer life in all areas.
You can always solve the math problem once you learn the laws of mathematics - how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide, etc. The same goes for living a full and happy life within the Infinite Universe, by understanding Yin and Yang.
* A special thanks to Jessica Porter, and The Hip Chick’s Guide to Macrobiotics (a must read), for her guidance.