Thursday, September 25, 2008
太极图 Tai Ji Tu
The 太极图 Tai Ji Tu, or tai ji diagram, illustrates the everchanging nature of yin and yang. Yin and yang are mutually supportive, oppositional, dynamic, and so on. For every up, there is a down. For every inside, there is an outside. Not only that, for the concept of "inside" to exist there must be an "outside". If everything was "inside" there would be no need for the term "outside".
This philosophical argument becomes real when applied to medicine, fighting, art, sex or any other area of life. What starts as the common cold, affecting the yang or upper part of the body in the nose and sinuses, can become pneumonia, affecting the deep interior or yin parts of the body. When your opponent attacks high, you attack low. When he advances, you retreat. When he retreats, you advance. Tai Ji is the separation of the essential wholeness of the universe into two parts, yin and yang.
Yin and yang must work together harmoniously in your body and in relation to the "outside" world. When there is a disturbance, you get sick. When there is no disturbance, you have health. All we do in acupuncture is balance yin and yang. There are further divisions of yin and yang, complicated disease models and mechanisms, but it all comes back to yin and yang.