I have a sunny side and a shady side, a day side and a night side—just like the sunny and shady sides of our Earth. My day side is warm, enthusiastic and active: It radiates confidence and enables me to maintain control over my behavior and my surroundings, just as the sun maintains control of its family of planets.
My night side is passive, receptive, dark and deep: It takes in the unspeakable vastness of the night sky and it surrenders to the healing, transformative processes that our planet’s shadow makes possible.
While my day self knows how to manage my external reality, my night self knows how to tap my inner strengths. While my day self empowers me to shine and coaches me in “strutting my stuff,” my night side knows how utterly insignificant I am on my own—and how profoundly connected I am with that which is greater.
The longer I live on this planet, the more evidence I see that each of us has a day self who’s running on perspiration and a night self who’s running on inspiration. Our day self impels us to examine things closely, while our night self guides us to back off and gain perspective. Our day self analyzes and scrutinizes details, while our night self absorbs overall patterns and trends. Our day self craves news, data and sound bytes, while our night self knows that even the most accurate data is meaningless out of context.
Our society likes to light up the night. We overlook—and we undervalue—our night self. Yet if I disconnect from the light-years’ worth of perspective that my night self offers, I become myopic. In my myopia, insignificant things loom so large that I’m easily sucked into unnecessary drama. I exhaust myself playing out roles that were scripted by somebody else.
Our sun is always in the spotlight because it is the spotlight; it’s the star of our show and the ego of our solar system. Now, my day side—my sunny side, my solar plexus—is my personal version of this ego. And the dramas that my ego-centric day side has lured me into over the years have taught me a valuable lesson: Even though I feel more in control of things when I’m operating from my day self, I’m also more easily blinded by the glare of egos—including my own. When I ignore the vast, trans-personal perspective and the deep inner guidance that my night self offers, my ego is more easily flattered and manipulated by other egos.
The tension between my opposites is not unique to me—nor is it anything new. Our Chinese ancestors have been exploring it for centuries and finding ways to use this tension as fuel for growth. They embodied their wisdom in the yin-yang symbol. Their word for night is yin, and their word for day is yang.
I hope you enjoy exploring the yin outside you and the yin inside you during this autumn season when yin is becoming more dominant.