a) We see the symbol for Yin and Yang everywhere. Now that you have done the readings do you have a greater understanding of the meaning of this symbol? Briefly discuss the application of Yin and Yang either to the principles of Chinese Medicine or the greater world at large.
The two symbols, Yin and Yang, can be found almost everywhere in the universe and usually develop an image of something through placing things in pair like day and night. Yin and Yang have been very integral to the Chinese culture for over a thousand years. When the two symbols combine, they develop a dynamic balance of the universe opposites and processes creating a harmony. Despite their indifference, they are interdependent of each other since they are complementary energies. A good example of the Yin and Yang pair is night and day, where the day is Yang and night is Yin. Night cannot exist without day, that is why they make a whole. At the point of intersection, there is some Yin, and Yang properties which signify that nothing is absolute . The day does not start without darkness; neither does the night start without the day. Early in the morning, there is a Yang as night transitions to day and a Yin in the late evening as it approaches darkness.
b) No word or English phrase can adequately capture the meaning of the word Qi. How would you explain the meaning of the Chinese word “Qi,” to your friend or colleague?
Qi is the most significant vital force in human life. The word is used to define the force that makes the universe as it is. It makes up and binds up things around. The concept of Qi consists of human habitat and also comprises the human formation, body fluids and the energy that flows through the body. Clearly, this means that the human body and the food they take consists of the Qi. What is ingested becomes part of the body and when released it finds its way back into the body. Human diseases come a result of the imbalances and interruptions of this flowing force. The concept of Yin and Yang is important in understanding Qi. The two symbols exist in harmony to bring about balance to the human body. An imbalance in Qi causes illness, with varying symptoms depending on whether the Qi is high or low. An example of deficiency of Qi can take the form of lack of food, shelter, clean water, and air while its excess can come up as environmental toxins and can be worse compared to its deficiency.
c) What is your opinion on the concept of “Shen,” or spirit as described in the philosophy of Chinese medicine? What role do you believe the “Shen,” or spirit plays in health and healing?
Shen is the spirit form of life, which is integral to human health and well-being. Therefore, Shen needs continual cultivation to maintain human health. It encompasses human thoughts, emotions, and consciousness. According to the philosophy of Chinese medicine, Shen controls activities that take place in human thinking, spiritual, and creative planes. Human wisdom, emotional well-being, and ability to critically analyze an issue is manifested through Shen. Shen helps humans to define and perceive the world around them while contributing to calmness, wisdom, and virtue in humanity. In addition, it helps to keep the body in order but can be harmed by external factors like inadequate nourishment or internal factors like excess emotions. Lack of harmony in the Shen spirit causes anxiety and stress and may result in mental illness in severe cases. Therefore, to maintain balance in Shen, one is advised to engage in meditation, physical exercises, and herbal remedies.