To learn the law of creation requires great knowledge, wisdom, or even enlightenment. Such knowledge is the gate to a higher level of consciousness.
Taoism is ancient knowledge and wisdom we can trace back 5000 years throughout Chinese history. The word "Tao" (Chin. 道) has many meanings such as a road, channel, path, or principle. We can understand that Tao is the force that keeps the universe balanced and ordered.
A human’s goal is to become one with the Tao, to be synchronized with nature, and to achieve an intuitive knowing of life through life experiences. If we follow the principles of Tao in time we can achieve knowledge of effortless action - Wu Wei (Chin. 无为), and virtue - De (Chin.德). Wu Wei in fact represents knowledge doing nothing and letting things take their own course and understanding of human inner nature and compatibility to the greater universe. De is the term that means active living, or practically following the inner nature of everything in accordance with the Tao.
The Tao is eternal and infinite, without an idea of “ego” or "self". The way humans see each other in self-observation and the way we project ourselves, in Taoism is considered the main cause of pain and sadness. It is believed that during the process of self-awareness we have a tendency to isolate ourselves from others. Such experience ends up in illusions, that all organisms are individually separated and exclusive, and not part of the same world. Humans only see natural manifestations and end processes. As it is not possible to destroy the ego, our main purpose is to follow universe patterns and the main source.
To be born, to live, and to die, are only cycles of natural processes, or part of a chain of mutual interactions. Taoism teaches us to appreciate life but not to fear death as it is only part of the universal cycle of existence. Imagine that life is based on forces with different polarities with different effects. Like Yin and Yang, positive and negative forces. Positive force expands consciousness and creates an understanding and self-realization of existence. Negative polarity restricts the consciousness and promotes ignorance and the concept of the Self. Those forces are mixed in everything.
Our attachment may exist in different forms, in the very same forms as yin and yang exist. Knowledge can be acquired by power of will and determination, or simply by misfortune and ignorance. As we exist, we live and we’re in constant learning, gaining experience. Buddhism states that physical reality is created from emptiness through people’s discrimination and attachment. However, we shouldn’t be attached to knowledge we acquired because we will become subjective and ignorant.
The Tao of creation
Tao, the emptiness, is the source of everything. Everything in the universe is created from emptiness through yin–yang interaction. Yin and yang are the two basic elements that makeup everything. Yin and Yang are opposite, relative, cocreated, inseparable, and co-dependent. Tao, the emptiness, contains infinite possibilities of energy and matter. Space and time are two basic measurements we conduct. Time relates to the measurement of movement and change. It is the yang nature of universal law. Space relates to the measurement of stillness and solidity. It is the yin nature of universal law. Humans concluded from observation of a basic natural law that everything has two sides, or two aspects, or two elements such as space and time. Space and time are opposite and relative, as change and stillness are opposites.
Yin Yang interplay
Yin-Yang is one of the most ancient Chinese concepts and the foundation for all Chinese wisdom. Yin and Yang are general terms used to describe opposition and unity. The original meaning of Yin and Yang referred to the sunny side and shady side, for example, a mountain. The side facing the sun is Yang; the side at the back, where the sun does not shine, Yin.
Yin and yang represent two opposite elements existing in everyone and everything. Usually, yin represents the part that is static, internal, descending, cold, cool, or dim. Yang represents the part that is positive, active, light, masculine, etc. Everything in the universe consists of both yin and yang elements. The vital force, Qi (Chin.气) arises from the interplay between yin and yang. Yin-Yang represents a dynamic and natural form of flowing energy that fills the universe.
There is a dynamic mutual transforming relation between Yin and Yang. As circumstances change, Yin transforms into Yang and Yang transforms into Yin. For example, in relation to the day-night circle, daytime belongs to Yang, while night pertains to Yin. The morning is Yang within Yang, afternoon is Yin within Yang as the day comes closer tonight. Consequently, in the first and second half of the night, the former is Yin within Yin, the latter Yang within Yin. Yin and Yang are two stages of a cyclical movement, one constantly changing into the other, such as the day giving way to night and vice versa. Everything in the universe alternates through a cyclical movement of peaks and troughs, and the alternation of Yin and Yang is the motive force of its change and development.
Yang symbolizes the more immaterial, corresponds to pure energy, rarefied states of matter, whereas Yin symbolizes the more material, coarsest and dense states of matter. From this viewpoint, energy, and matter are but two states, with an infinite possible number of states of aggregation. The relationship and interdependence of Yin–Yang is manifested by a symbol called the Tai Ji (Chin. 太极) - ‘Supreme Ultimate’ (yin yang fish) which means the ultimate origin of the cosmos, represented by the small black and white spots. Only when Yin and Yang are in unity, relative balance can be maintained to ensure change and development in nature. If this balance is out of order, the disease will be the result.
Yin-Yang function and structure
The normal vital activities of the human body are based on the coordination of Yin and Yang in a unity of opposites. Functional activities belong to Yang, and nutrient substances pertain to Yin. The physiological activities of the body rely on the support of the nutrient substances. Without these substances, the body is unable to perform its functional activities; while at the same time, the physiological functional activities constantly promote the metabolism of the substances. The relationship between the functional activities and substances reflects the interdependent, intercommuting, and supporting relationship between Yin and Yang. When Yin and Yang are no longer interdependent but separated, life reaches its end.
However, the opposition is relative because nothing is totally Yin or totally Yang. Yang corresponds to function and Yin corresponds to structure. Some organs by their nature are Yang and some are Yin, however, each organ contains within itself a Yang and a Yin aspect. For example, the spleen function of transforming and transporting the essences extracted from food represents its Yang aspect. The vital energy – Qi, extracted in this way from food is then transformed into blood (structure), which by nature is Yin, stimulates the creation of the structure of the spleen itself.
The liver stores blood and this represents its Yin aspect and is its structure; on the other hand, the liver controls the flow of blood and vital energy - Qi in all parts of the body, which represents its Yang aspect and is its function.
The Yin and Yang of the nervous system
The autonomic nervous system is comprised of two main components, the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) and the parasympathetic nervous system (rest & digest, freeze).
The sympathetic nervous system regulates our “fight or flight” response and branches out from our spine to our internal organs. The sympathetic nervous system is all about action. This is the yang part of our nervous system which turns on the adrenaline. Without conscious direction, the autonomic nervous system regulates important body blood pressure, pupil dilation, body temperature, and functions such as heart rate, sweating, and digestion. The sympathetic nervous system directs the body's rapid involuntary response to dangerous or stressful situations. A flash flood of hormones boosts the body's alertness and heart rate, sending extra blood to the muscles. Breathing quickens, delivering fresh oxygen to the brain, and an infusion of glucose is shot into the bloodstream for a quick energy boost. This response occurs so quickly that people often don't realize it's taken place. The sympathetic nervous system doesn't distress the body once the imminent danger has passed.
The parasympathetic nervous system regulates our “feed or breed” or “rest and digest” and it works to calm the body down. It slows everything down. This is the yin partner to the sympathetic system’s yang. The body’s reaction to stress is programmed to protect us. Our body adjusts to its surroundings to maintain homeostasis.
Yin Yang balance for health
The sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems work together to maintain this baseline and normal body function. The sympathetic nervous system becomes overactive in a number of diseases. These include cardiovascular diseases like ischemic heart disease, chronic heart failure, and hypertension. A boost of sympathetic signaling raises the blood pressure and enhances tone in smooth muscles, which may cause hypertension. Sympathetic dysfunction also underlies mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, and chronic stress. In short bursts, the body's physical stress response can be useful and grant an energizing boost of mental focus. Besides maintaining a mental feeling of constant stress, the extra epinephrine and cortisol damage blood vessels, increase blood pressure, and promote a buildup of fat. So, while the fight-or-flight response serves a purpose, it is unhealthy to be switched on all the time.
We need a balance between activity and rest, waking and sleep excitement and calmness. It is the yin and yang concept of a dynamic balance of opposites that define and provide balance for each other. These two aspects of the nervous system show how this balance works. To live in a state where the sympathetic nervous system is engaged all the time is not healthy, or vice versa. Balance is the key, we need both states to be healthy.