Yin, Yang, Kabballah, & Tree of Life

The yin/yang symbol also demonstrates as noted previously that within each there is a bit of the other. Because duality and polarity are universally exhibited in all of creation, parallels can be seen between differing cultural and religious traditions. For example, parallels can be seen between the Chinese Taoist tradition and the Jewish/Hebrew Kabbalistic tradition. As the Yin and Yang are complementary principles, displaying opposition, similarly the Tree of Life of the Kabballah exhibits the opposite yet complementary pillars of receptivity, which is Feminine energy similar to yin, and of aggressive/expansiveness, which is Masculine energy like yang. Both traditions seek unification and balance through universal truth. The Tree of Life is a physical representation of the creative structure and nature of the universe, and the source of life and a foundation for the mind of man.

Tree of Life

The most prominent form of the Tree of Life was devised by Rabbi Issac Luria in sixteen-century Palestine. It serves as a practical application of mystical knowledge in the service of Divine will, and is a description of the structure and nature of the universe and a path to righteousness. The Tree of Life is composed of the ten sefirot, which are spheres of divine attributes. The attributes are listed as follows:

1. KETER Crown & Emanation of Divine light and will

2. CHOKHMAH Wisdom

3. BINAH Understanding

4. CHESED Mercy

5. GEVURAH Judgement or Power

6. TIFERET Beauty

7. NETZACH Endurance

8. HOD Glory

9. YESOD Foundation

10. MALKHUT Kingdom

The central pillar springs from the Crown (Keter) that forms the roots from which everything emanates. The central pillar is a trunk of Knowledge (Daíat) which forms the branches of Beauty (Tiferet), Foundation (Yesod), and the Kingdom (Malkhut). The tenth sefirah, Malkhut, is also known as Shekhinah, the feminine presence of God. Even though the Jewish or Hebrew culture is a patriarchal tradition, they also recognize there to be a feminine aspect of the Creator. It should be noted that according to Janet Berenson-Perkins's research, author of the Kabbalah Decoder, the ancient Jewish sages and rabbis did not view the Shekhinah as a woman, but recognized it to be the feminine energy of Nearness (Atzilut), which is the immanence of God. This immanence of God can be seen as a part of the divinity of the Creator that animates the physical world. The early Jewish sages further noted that the Shekhinah was once part of the Divine will. And that after the dispersion of the holy sparks of light, the Shekhinah descended to humanity to be a vessel for Divine light.

These holy sparks of light are the I AM, the Creator within man, the thinker, the divinity that lies within each one of us. We have another spiritual parallel here between the Jewish and Hindu traditions. The I AM or Divine Self of the Hindus is represented by Krishna. In the Hindu holy book the Bhagavad Gita, a part of the larger Mahabarata, Krishna is the earthly manifestation of the Divine presence.

"Standing in their great war-chariots, trimmed with gold and precious stones, and drawn by milk-white steeds, Krishna, the incarnation of God, and Arjuna, the son of Pandu, sounded their war shells until the air quivered in vibration." – Bhagavad Gita, Part I

Using the Language of Mind to interpret this passage, we find that when we have strong will-power and singular attention on learning and growth, through our perception of its value, our chakras align, harmony within is produced and we receive insight and direction from the I AM. The Hindu Krishna and the Shekhinah of the Jewish tradition are identical.

Tao: Yin and Yang

Ancient sages in China observed creation and formed the teachings of a spiritual philosophy that has in many ways become a religion. They described the subtle breath of life that permeates and vivifies everything in the universe as formless and elusive and called it chi or the vital energy or vital force of creation. This description is similar to the primal forces of creation that were in existence at the beginning of the creation of the universe as it is described in the Bible in the Creation Story from Genesis.

"In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless wasteland, and darkness covered the abyss, while a mighty wind swept over the waters." -Genesis 1, Verses 1-2

Also, parallels here are noted between the Ayn Sof of the Kabballah and the Tao of the Tao Te Ching. The Ayn Sof is known to be Ultimate Nothingness which is said to have existed before creation, independent of time and space. Ancient sages in China said the original energy of the universe was fathomless and incomprehensible, and beyond time and space, and they called it Tao. Consider passage IV from the Tao Te Ching, the holy book of Tao.

"Tao is infinite. If we use it, we find it inexhaustible. Deep and unfathomable, It seems to be Ancestor of all things. It rounds off our angles, It unravels our difficulties, It tempers our light, It is lowly as the dust, It is pure, It remains everlasting. I do not know whose Son it is, It appears to have existed before God. " – Tao Teh Ching, IV.

It is from the Tao, the subtle origin of the universe, that the chi energy emanates. Janet Berenson-Perkins, author of the book Kabbalah Decoder makes a convincing hypothesis that the Big Bang Theory describes the first creation and the black hole and its relationship to Ayn Sof, Tao and therefore all first creation myths. According to the prevailing Big Bang Theory, before our universe came into being, everything was contracted into a super-dense primordial matter that contained all space and time. In this regard, black holes are said to suck all energy and matter into an infinitely dense center in which the gravitational force is so great that light is not able to escape from it. We know light is there because it can be detected, but it can't be perceived visibly. Perhaps the black hole is a physical manifestation of the contraction and nothingness expressed by the idea of Ayn Sof and Tao. A spiritual parallel can also be seen between the Jewish tradition and the Hindu tradition in regard to the first creation. In the Jewish tradition, God before creation is Ayn Sof or Nothingness Without End or Beginning. This is analogous to the Hindu god Brahma who is known as Not This, Not That.
Chi force is known in many cultures of the earth. It is known most widely as chi, ki or prana. Chi is the life giving force or generative force in the universe. The Chinese word "chi" refers to the internal energy, the vital force that animates us and keeps us healthy and alert. The ancients observed that everything in the universe exists as a manifestation or projection of this energy. Therefore, the principles that govern the universe as a whole are the same ones that govern individual parts of the universe. Thus, by understanding the movement of the energy of creation, we will also understand the essence of the Universal Laws of Creation, and in this case the Law of Attraction and our true nature as creative intelligence.

As the ancient sages continued to observe and experience creation, they eventually described the cyclical movement and evolution of energy through the polar combination of yin and yang and the wu-hsing. Wu-hsing is the five element system or the five forces which describe change and evolution. The elements of earth, metal, fire, wood and water are phases of a constantly moving cycle. Each element can be viewed as a manifestation of chi energy. They also correspond to colors, tastes, seasons, directions and parts of the body.

What is Yin and Yang?

Creation can be considered as an organization of the primal energy. This organization is a polarization of the primal energy of creation into two distinct states of being. The aggressive aspect of creation (yang) appears to occur first, the polarization implies the presence of its complement. Its complement can be view as the receptive aspect of creation (yin). Therefore, consider the act of creation as an outward expansion of the primal energy from a center such as the black hole. However, there has to be a counterbalancing and contractive force in order for organization to occur.

The aggressive action of yang is like that of centrifugal force. Centrifugal force tends to pull outward from a rotating center. The action of yin is like that of centripetal force. Centripetal force tends to pull inward or toward the center of a rotating center. This implies that these forces must be equally in balance in order for creation to exist. Otherwise, energy would either disperse itself into nothingness or disappear into the center.

Once again we can perceive the interconnectedness of all creation, because the balance of these two forces is illustrated by the model of the atom. The electrons that rotate around the nucleus of the atom at the speed of light would tend to propel themselves out of their orbit if they were not counterbalanced by the force of the protons which attract the electrons to the center. If the electrons were to leave their orbit, the atom woulddisintegrate. Therefore, in keeping with the metaphysical view of interconnectedness of creation, on a larger scale, this principle functions to hold together the solar system, the galaxies of the universe and all the Universal Laws.

It is said that the nature of yin and yang was first recognized by Fu Shi between six to eight thousand years ago. He formulated twelve principles of yin/yang which provide an explanation of the laws of nature which govern the universe and all of its laws. These principles are given below. That which produces and composes the universe is Tao, the undivided oneness or ultimate nothingness. Tao polarizes itself: yang becomes the active pole of the cosmos, yin becomes the solidified pole. Yang and yin are opposites, and each accomplishes the other.

All beings and things in the universe are complex aggregates of universal energy composed of infinitely varying proportions of yin and yang. All beings and things are in a dynamic state of change and transformation; nothing in the universe is absolutely static or completed; all is in unceasing motion because polarization, the source of being, is without beginning and without end. Yin and yang attract one another.

Nothing is entirely yin or entirely yang; all phenomena are composed of both yin and yang. Nothing is neutral. All phenomena are composed of unequal proportions of yin and yang. The force of attraction between yin and yang is greater when the difference between them is greater, and smaller when it is smaller. Like activities repel one another. The closer the similarity between two entities of the same polarity, the greater the repulsion. At the extremes of development, yin produces yang and yang produces yin. All beings are yang in the center and yin on the surface. Yang means the active spirit, yin means the physical body. On other occasions, yang means apparent and yin means hidden.

According to the principles, the actions of yin and yang apply to every facet of life. The polar aspects of the yin and yang are expressions of everything that exists in our universe. Hence, the yin and yang can be seen as the essence of all Universal Laws, which of course includes the Law of Attraction.

©2002 SOM, v. 6/04

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