Emergence….symbiotic relationships and Yin and Yang

Today I lay in the park after eating lunch. Watching the way of the birds – hilarious at times to watch the smallest birds seem to tease and threaten the bigger birds at times, easy to think they were just ‘all bark and no bite’ until the chase begins…and you watch the little one stake it’s claim to the territory like an absolute legend.

In the slower days of COVID lockdowns I was taken back to the days when I was travelling where there was a spaciousness in my mind and heart to appreciate the ways nature is always sharing her wisdom with us, when we take the time to listen. And I’m so grateful this reminder has stayed with me. So today as I looked up and saw the contrast of these 2 beautiful trees against the skyline I began to contemplate the beauty of opposites, of polarity, of differences, diversity…and the marvel of inclusivity. The sheer joy of feeling the space to allow everything to exist in it’s natural form, to recognise the magic of the natural order of coexisting.

There’s a concept I stumbled across last year called Emergence, which I understood to be the art of two whole, functioning things relating synergistically – that is when they work together to produce an effect greater than the things alone.

And my little heart did flip flops knowing there was great wisdom here for me to glean. What I began to explore was what is the fundamental difference between an emergent relationship and an entropic relationship (one that detracts from the other). And I discovered that in an emergence relationship the two wholes relate to each other from a place of wholeness – they don’t try to limit the space they occupy in each other’s lives. They understand that they individually have their own perfect function without the other…but yet together there is this new beautiful property that can not exist unless the two come into relationship.

While an entropic relationship is centred in disorder and the breaking down or detraction of the unique qualities of the two wholes, destroying some of the properties that previously existed. Where things are both improving in some way but declining in another there will either be a shift towards a more elegantly ordered way of relating (whole to whole) or a gradual destabilisation that increases with time creating entropy.

An emergent relationship is elegantly ordered and that order provides stability. For me that feels particularly present when a relationship is grounded in partnership (rather than control & domination) and a shared vision – whether it be family, creating a home, creative projects or a spiritual purpose. Where each person brings their unique properties and there is a synergy between the two that creates more than the sum of 1+1.

I’ve been blessed in this life to experience both a long term 11 year relationship/marriage and many shorter intense deep dives…many of them very much carrying the qualities of emergence. But each of them eventually coming to their own natural end…and as I reflect I can see the ending of each of them very much connected to the quality and quantity of space between us – or more to the point the lack of quality space between us that eventually created disorder and entropy.

In one of my favourite books the Celestine Prophecy, author James Redfield writes about something called the Control Drama’s. The story goes that we all have our own unique drama type when it comes to relating to others and that as humans we are all engaged in a manipulation of subtle energies because we’re caught in a flawed assumption we must compete for a finite energy that is being exchanged between ourselves and others.

In the book Redfield defines 4 main types – Aloof, Poor Me, Interrogator and Intimidator. Knowing your own type, and that of your primary caregivers is where he suggests liberation from the chaos of the drama’s playing out is. But what I found fascinating when I first read the book 9 years ago…and when I re-read it last year was this flawed assumption that we must compete and control and manipulate each other in order to feel good, alive, strong.

Celestine Prophecy goes down the path of highlighting certain insights to support the revelation of consciousness in humanity. And it speaks to wisdom that there is a subtle energy that forms the basis of all things.

“There is conflict in humans where we fight for the energy we have access to, the energy exchanged between us. Everyone is trying to control and manipulate each other for energy, because we feel short of it. We’re stuck in a sort of competition for each other’s energy. When we can get others to acquiesce to our view, they identify with us and that pulls their energy into us and we feel stronger.

The human tendency to steal energy from other humans by controlling them, taking over their minds, a crime in which we engage because we so often feel depleted of energy, and cut off. This shortage of energy can be remedied of course, when we connect with the higher source.”

What if the key to ending human conflict was for each of us to turn inwards and learn to cultivate our own connection to this higher source of energy? What if we were to talk openly about the fact that we’ve grown up manipulating each other under a flawed assumption that it’s the only way we could get what we need to feel good. What if we could actually receive everything we need, AND offer each other love and support by being more tuned into to our own connection to life. Call it God, Grace, Truth, Consciousness, Divinity…whatever word helps you to remember yourself as more than just a physical body, and personality. And what if this journey inwards could help us become more whole and elegantly ordered – creating the possibility for more emergence?

But what does yin & yang have to do with any of that – well they are the perfect example of emergence – the wholeness of the black and the white form to create an extra symbol without changing the beauty and perfection of the black and the white.

Take it one step further to remember that Yin and Yang is the eastern method of encapsulating duality -feminine to masculine, cold to hot, dark to light, resting to doing. So this relationship and potential for emergence is present in our every day life, everywhere. And it gives us a little reminder that balance is needed – space to honour the gifts of both Yin and Yang!

I’m a Yin teacher, and from an absolute perspective the way I teach is not in balance as I focus almost exclusively on Yin. I do that because I feel the lives we live in the Western culture have been heavily geared towards Yang. And I do this because I’m a deeply feminine human who thrives in the space of yin (with a solid grounding and containment of Yang). And after living a busy goal oriented, material possession oriented life for most of my adult years that kept me in my mind (yang) and away from my body (yin) I don’t need more encouragement in this field. What I need is to keep creating space to rest, feel, perceive, accept and love more of life – space to cherish relationship and inclusivity, wholeness and sovereignty and space to explore the subtle and inner part of my experience before connecting with others.

I know personally my role in this life is one of a gentle warrior, one who stands for truth and love and kindness in a very subtle soft way. A way that not everyone gets. My heart lights up when I’m helping others to create space within themselves to hear the whispers of their soul. My heart lights up when I see people I’ve been working with learn to love themselves and then watch as this overflows out into every part of their life. I know my path is to help them find their way home into the heart, and my soul has it’s own unique expression of this. And for others my path may appear nonsensical or fantastical because it’s not their truth. The wonderful thing is I am actually highly attracted to those grounded in their masculine presence (yang) because together our combined experience and wisdom brings something entirely unique and beyond what I alone am.

And I’ve had some disastrous attempts at intimate relationships with men who either didn’t value the slowness or gentleness of my Yin or who weren’t able to stay in their Yang – stable in their own direction and purpose.

To me the sweet spot seems to be when we can make space for each other, truly allowing each other to be who we are. Without needing to control and manipulate so that we can feel safe. Where partnership rather than control and domination are the focus. I don’t need you to be like me, and I hope you don’t need me to be like you – my need in healthy relating however is that I don’t need to fight you for my right to be myself. Because to me that detracts from my path and is a surefire way to entropy.

I am more Yin than Yang, and yet I know that there must still be balance and so to spend time with a beautifully integrated Yang partner is like heaven for me – it gives me permission to be my fullest yin, and to feel the strength of their direction and structure…and I know they feel the beauty of slowing down and being…and together the way we approach challenges and ideas is so much more vast, diverse and curious because of our differing perspectives. Enter emergence.

So while the concept of emergence is a big one, maybe it’s not that much more complex than becoming whole unto ourselves and meeting each other from that place. Ok maybe learning to experience our wholeness isn’t a simple thing either….but maybe just maybe it’s worth the adventure…a life long adventure of coming home to ourselves and each other.

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