Often, we are trying to solve problems by ‘direct, head-on attack’. We even do this in healing. Sometimes this is called the ‘masculine’ method.
If you want to learn about the ‘other’ side of healing and influence, this article is about what else is possible.
Table of Contents
Healing with ‘Force’
“When I speak to practitioners of TCM , they often tell me: ‘When I work in ‘yang’, people really enjoy it. When I begin to work to balance their ‘yin’, they stop coming.”
– Shantam Nityama
The hammer crashed down on the steel frame with an ear–splitting ‘clang!’. The steel bent slightly with each blow. At least, that is what I was experiencing.
But the hammer was a “healing” practitioner and the frame was a soft, pliable human being. I was at a healing event. And the ‘healer’ was showing us how he did his miracles.
I had to leave the room.
“Why was this happening?”
“And why wasn’t anyone feeling what I was feeling?” Or screaming, “Stop!” like I wanted to?
I was attending a “healing” event — and it made me think. Though this rough clanking was in actuality a form of energetic ‘healing’, it reminded me a lot of Rolfing.
Imagine a 200 lb man pressing down with his total weight on a very sensitive spot on your hip with his elbow while you scream and he says over and over, “Just a little more!”.
That’s what Rolfing is.
In Rolfing, a practitioner literally tears your fascia with force to correct body misalignments.
It is incredibly painful.
And, while one walks out of each session with immediate, powerful changes in posture, my experience was that, in the long term, my body simply returned to its previous, ‘bad’ posture.
Rolfing, like most forms of healing that have found their way into the Western world, embraces a strong “yang” mindset that most of our culture is very focused on.
This mindset is expressed like this: a direct frontal assault on the problem will be best to solve it. Attack!
Drugs. Surgery. Radiation. These are direct, powerful assaults.
Not to say that there aren’t times that require direct measures. But they are not the only path.
And, unfortunately, they are often ineffective.
Kind of like how ‘killing all the bad guys’ has never rid the world of bad guys.
The perspective can be expanded.
I found this myself after I endured several operations to ‘solve’ my illnesses which were not only ineffective in solving my issues, but detrimental to my health in the long term.
In desperation, I considered alternative paths to healing. These paths I found had been obfuscated and showed me how much of ‘conventional healing’ does the opposite of what it claims for patients, attacking symptoms instead of resolving issues at their core.
Back to the Evening
In the ‘healing event’, I watched this practitioner do the equivalent of smashing a hammer on each person’s energetic field over and over until it was ‘bent’ into shape.
There is certainly a time for force.
However, there are two ways to use energy:
- Direct pushing against the thing that isn’t ‘right’.
- Opening space for the cause of the supposed ‘problem’ so that the system can correct itself.
The first method, I refer to as the ‘masculine’ or ‘yang’ method of problem solving.
The second method I refer to as the ‘yin’ or ‘feminine’ method.
Just as almost every invention and scientific breakthrough happened while looking for something else entirely, or how great inventors, musicians, and artists have received inspiration and guidance in dreams or through the power of the subconscious mind, so also healing take places best often when it happens outside the realms of conscious thought or understanding or direct pushing or fighting against symptoms, either physically or energetically.
“The feminine way is 1000 times more powerful than the masculine way. This is why not only women, but men utilize it if they are wise in solving problems.”
– Shantam Nityama
Ninety–nine of us ‘force’ a “problem” to be fixed for every one who opens a space for healing to happen. And there is a lot of pressure to do that. We live in a ‘yang–focused’ society. People understand the yang. It’s preached and focused on. People get yang. They want results! Quickly! With the minimum time passing and money spent. Pop a pill and be done with it!
People don’t get yin.
There is another problem as well.
When most of us go into a “Yin” field, we don’t like what we find.
It’s not your usual pro–active, powerful, accomplishing self.
It’s your soft, gentle, flexible, introspective, inviting core.
We are constantly given examples of how applying the most force to the situation solves it. We have few examples of how opening to the energy present in a situation allows it to solve itself.
But that is what this type of healing is about. Creating a space for the mind, body, emotions, and spirit to fill. In their own time and in their own way.
When we begin to step into that space, we open for things beyond our intellectual understanding to happen.
We open the reversal of the feelings → tension → repression → storage → emotions process.
What ‘is’ is allowed to come out.
Let me in to Yin! (Why we don’t go there)
There are even more reasons why few of us have access to the ‘yin’ space of healing. Some of them are cultural, some have to do with our language. Some are maybe just part of being human. Here are a few examples.
This is a nonverbal space.
My first, most powerful teacher in the concepts of yin taught a whole course called ‘The Human Voice’ without speaking any words.
It was difficult for my mind to follow the course, because he didn’t address me how I was used to being addressed — through my mind. He didn’t explain things. Reason them out. He didn’t use logic and comparison to explain them.
He demonstrated. He observed. And he responded. All without words.
In the realm of yin, words are often unnecessary and almost always a hinderance. Just as technical explanations of how to have sex probably would ‘kill’ the experience, when working in yin, words often get in the way. In yin, words are often stumbling blocks to connection instead of bridges of meaning.
Since we have been conditioned to approach almost everything in life from a space of words, logic, and reason, any space that does not utilize these as primary interfaces into reality and the other [person] might seem foreign, strange, and even frightening for us.
This is also why our sex lives and relationships generally do not satisfy. What happens in relationships is mostly about energy and only slightly about words. Until we understand energy, we have difficulty enjoying relationships as deeply as we could.
We don’t have ‘safe maps’ in ‘yin space’
Because we don’t have much experience with the concepts and experiences of ‘yin’, we don’t really understand how to navigate spaces and experiences that are ‘yin heavy’.
Most of us feel like tourists there in a country with a language we don’t understand. Or like we’re at dance class for the first time.
Everything is unfamiliar and we feel like we’re not doing it right.
Our ‘Work ethic’ attacks!
We are taught to ‘work hard’ and ‘earn’ what we receive. However, in this space, we often sit and wait for things to happen. Just like plants grow — we cannot force them to grow, but must be patient until the fruits present themselves and ripen.
No amount of force will turn sunlight into strawberries.
Doing ‘nothing’, ‘waiting’ for inspiration, or at least being open to act on it when it arrives feels lazy. We don’t want others to see us there.
If takes great courage to sit on a park bench for an hour or two and just observe. Or to sit silently while the world around you rushes by. You might be declared useless. You might worry about income. But these are the spaces where yin opens most effectively to us.
Yin just “feels good” — is that ok?
Jesus taught, “Consider the lilies of the field.” They don’t sow nor harvest. They just are. Most animals mainly enjoy life, lounge about, and do nothing particularly ‘productive’ or ‘efficient’. Yet nature runs beautifully and perfectly, regardless of the “catastrophes” that have visited it over and over.
This is the space of yin. We can’t brag to our friends about it. We can’t pat ourselves on the back while we are in it. But if we want to live in harmony with nature, we will drink deeply from the space of yin.
In moments where we enjoy a sunset or a waterfall, we access this place. We leaving worry and concern for another time. And yet we feel guilty if we spend too much time here.
What if we abandoned that guilt? If we did, we could go here more deeply and more often.
The ‘mind’ is on holiday
The mind is always looking to find ‘good’ or ‘bad’. Do we go toward this? Or away from it? Is it dangerous? Or useful? Painful? Or pleasurable?
When the mind has no such labels to apply, it doesn’t know what to do. It enters a space of ‘not knowing’. And that feels scary when we are trained that our minds are the sources of all our knowledge and safety.
This is the space children live in. They don’t have preconceptions about others. They follow their natural inclinations, explore, and pretty much do just fine without ‘knowing’ whether things are ‘safe’ or ‘unsafe’.
They don’t yet understand that things need to be classified and organized in order to avoid danger. They just live.
Nature has no morality. Nor virtues. Yet we call it beautiful. Compare it to your average city, and the preference is clear for most.
We don’t feel protected
In the world of yin, we haven’t identified threats and opportunities. We move by feeling, attraction. Or repulsion.
These come not from the mind, but from the energetic structures of our souls and have no words.
Armor is useless here. Our armor prevents things from happening to us that we won’t enjoy. It has served us well, hasn’t it? Armorless space feels quite dangerous. But only to the knight used to wearing it.
Who am I here?
We use our personalities and identities to define who we are, which groups we ‘belong to’, which will protect us and make us ‘not alone’. These are our shields.
But in yin, we lose these. We become ourselves — without identities, or groups — or even a fixed personality.
We become endlessly flexible. In yin we sing and dance with abandon — which is why so many of us use drugs or alcohol to get here when our ‘rational self’ will not allow us to enjoy it.
We might lose the ‘protection’ of knowing who we are and who our tribe is, but we gain a much greater freedom.
We don’t know what to believe
Because we need words to form beliefs, in yin, beliefs become very difficult to grasp and hold onto. We have experience of now and energy as our guide, and not our fixed definitions from the past — our beliefs.
in yin we move beyond concepts and words.
In a space of yin openness, the mind frantically searches in vain for beliefs as anchors.
Without beliefs to guide our actions, how will we know what to do?
But do we have a choice?
There are challenges in connecting deeply with our yin/receptive/open nature. No wonder so few of us find this space. And why we often feel exhausted, overworked, depressed, afraid, isolated, trapped, and lonely — regardless of our bank account size, relationship status, or level of ‘success’.
Eventually, we will see that the things we are ‘doing’ to ‘solve our problems’ are not working, nor will they work even if we put in 10x the effort or 10x as many resources.
It is my belief that, eventually, we will turn to this natural, hidden energetic component out of sheer necessity — as I did. And then what we want to ‘accomplish’ will appear is if by magic.
Back to Healing
I began this article speaking about healing. A hammer ‘forcing’ things into place.
I spoke about why we accept “hard” and direct forms quite easily. Why our minds have difficulty understanding the other half of the healing equation. Why it’s sometimes challenging to make money, run a practice, or help people when we are focusing on things our society doesn’t understand.
And yet, I feel called to hold the banner for the indescribable. To put out a call for those who are looking for another way…a path of soft invitation, of deep breath and swirling feeling, a place within themselves that simply softly receives the majesty of the universe without trumpets or fanfare. Because happiness and healing is to be found here, long term, much more powerfully than in any other way.
Getting to Yin
I stumbled upon methods to find this place through grace. Several minor miracles opened me to this energy and I found some guides and teachers to help me develop this aspect of myself.
Here are a few steps I can recommend to begin to open to this energy in yourself.
Cultivate your ability to receive
Book massages and bodywork sessions where you are ‘passive’. Also, consider relaxation recordings and guided meditations where you simply ‘listen and receive’ instead of having to ‘do anything’.
Become a Sense–uality Explorer
The senses are pathways or receptivity — the key component of yin. As such, consciously enjoy smells, colors and images and using all of your physical senses to explore and receive.
When we are ‘putting energy out there’, we are not noticing all that is coming in. The sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and even sensations that are ‘giving’ to us in every moment.
Slowing down and creating space to ‘experience’ a sunrise, our favorite music, or a during a walk in the woods all open us to that soft, yielding, receptive ‘yin’ space.
Try “Yin–focused” Healing arts
After moving through the ‘harder/yang’ forms of alternative healing, I have found several systems that feel more gentle, and that seem more powerful as well.
CranioSacral therapy (CST) is a ‘yin’ form of healing. Rather than using manual force to ‘move bones back into the right places’, CST opens and holds space and waits for the body to regulate itself. This is just one example of such a healing modality — various types of massage have already been suggested. And there will be others as well.
Explore Receptive Meditations
Meditation is a basic method that, in the way I practice and teach it, opens us to yin, allows us to receive what the body is experiencing without judgement or labels, and allows the body to move through what it is experiencing without us ‘thinking’ about it.
Any form of meditation that is focused on receiving, noticing, or yielding can be useful in helping us get into our yin space.
Play the Yin/Yang Game
“There are only two sources of conflict in every relationship. The first is: Who is in charge?…”
– Paraphrased from ‘Eat, Pray, Love’
The yin/yang game is one way to create a space in which you can be both an active/creating participant and a passive/receptive one.
The way it works is: two people pick a space of time to play the game. They divide the time equally.
In the first half of the time, the first person decides what happens. They can ask for anything (pending approval by the partner, of course) and get it.
After their time, they switch, and do it again.
Rather than ‘compromising’ or ‘fighting for control’, each person agrees to follow half the time, and lead half the time.
Revelations in long–term partnerships when playing this game can be immense. But even strangers can play this game with amazing results.
Any creative experience — but especially the ‘nonsensical ones’ can be a great doorway into ‘receiving’ and translating input from our subconscious mind — which often has great access to yin.
Drawing, painting, singing (without words!), dancing (without predetermined steps!) and a hundred other creative actions can all help us dive into a connection with our yin.
There are, of course, other ways to connect to yin. These can get you started into finding that ‘empty space of power’ that yin holds.
Benefits of Connecting Deeply to Yin
When we balance our yin/receptivity/”feminine” qualities, we have a more relaxed, hopeful, open view of life. We are more accepting, joyful, and allow life to happen without making it bad or wrong.
Or even good!
Relationship ‘issues’, health crises, and even money ‘problems’ often disappear or improve — without us ‘even trying’.
Results in my life have been:
- feeling more balanced
- being able to focus more deeply
- stronger, more useful intuition
- better relating with others
- less worry and stress
- more connection with myself
…in addition to the other benefits I have described in this article.
I began with healing, but applying the energy and ideas of yin to the rest of our lives will enable a quite different world.
No more burnout. No more exhaustion. No more “not being enough”.
Enjoying the moment. Connecting deeply and enjoying ourselves.
Enjoying deep, meaningful, ‘effortless’ change and watching that paradigm spread to heal the world.
I believe the ideas and experiences of yin hold the secrets to “solving” many of the greatest issues facing our relationships, personal lives, and societies.
Willing to give it a try?
Feel free to contact me with questions or comments.