At the center of each side of the yin and the yang symbol is a small circle of the opposite color. The importance of the small size of that circle is its focal power, like the beams of sunlight through the lens of a magnifying glass. The concentration of the sun’s rays in a small area is what gives the light the power to start a fire. What it lacks in size, it makes up for in strength.
I have been through a lot of pain and suffering in my life, yet I am not depressed, and I am not pessimistic. Despite whatever difficulties I’ve faced, I am a generally grateful human being who is happy most all of the time. I’ll put myself through voluntary difficulties regularly, going through hard workouts or maybe go spar and I love it. The challenge and difficultly, whether self-imposed or not, made me the focal point of light surrounded by darkness.
Going through challenges is what has made me happy, grateful, and resilient. I owe who I am to everything that has happened to me, the good and the bad. It’s as if all the darkness (hardship) around me taught me what real happiness is and that it doesn’t take much to be happy, just like the small circle of white in the black background, it’s small but it immediately draws your attention.
The same is true with the opposite. I’ve known many people who were born into blessings. Wealthy parents, never had to work, college paid for, good health, the whole shabang, and they were still miserable. You would be surprised by the number of children of wealth individuals who grow up and get addicted to drugs and completely ruin their lives in one way or the other. They ended up like that little black circle, surrounded by the light but rotten on the inside.
You would think that being set up for success by being born into a wealthy family would mean that success was guaranteed, right? Well, it seems that is not always the case. Most of those people born into prosperity have never experienced suffering and so they don’t know what true happiness is because they’ve never truly experienced it’s opposite. They are the small, miserable black circle in the middle of happiness.
If you take a poor person and buy them a meal at a nice restaurant, they will be grateful and happy. If you take a rich person who was given everything their whole lives and do the same for them, they wouldn’t be grateful. To them it’s just another meal, and maybe it doesn’t even measure up to their lofty standards. Maybe they’d complain because they prefer another fancy restaurant. Knowing what it’s like to lack something before you have it teaches you to appreciate its value.
I could eat a peanut butter sandwich with nothing but bread and peanut butter and a glass of milk and be satisfied because I remember when that’s all I had or when I didn’t have a meal that day. For some people that would ruin their day because they’ve never known hunger or struggle.
The happiest moments of my life came after extreme pain and challenge. That was finally gaining weight and putting on some muscle after being skinny my whole life and being constantly made fun of for it. That was finally being able to buy a car after walking to work for months in the desert heat. That is coming home and having a good meal after a hard workout or sparring session on top of a 12-hour workday.
That was finally seeing my daughter after only being able to talk to her on FaceTime for months on end because I’m living far away and didn’t have the money to visit her. That was being exhausted every day because I’m working towards the life I want to live.
They say that the best thing you can do for a child is raise them poor, and I wholeheartedly agree. It makes them grateful for the small things, resilient, and tough. It’s what prevents them from being spoiled, entitled little brats. I’m not saying I want children to starve or to not get their basic needs met, that’s being too extreme. I’m not saying that I want people to suffer, what I am saying is that it’s useful. Suffering is useful. Life would be boring and meaningless if there was no struggle, no challenge to it.
That pang of hunger is useful, not always getting what you want is useful, playing outside with sticks and not playing videogames all day on the newest gaming console is useful. Doing chores and working as soon as you are old enough is useful. It teaches you valuable lessons, like what’s really important and not having everything handed to you, having to work for your own wants, your own needs, your own dreams.
Where there is darkness, you can find light, and where there is light there can also be darkness. What you focus on is what has power. When you find yourself surrounded by darkness, acknowledge it, but don’t dwell on it, focus on the good that comes from it.
Do you hate that job you go to everyday? Feel like giving up? Remember why you go to that job. Are you working towards something better? Does that shitty job support you in working towards what you really want to do? Does it mean you can feed that person at home that you love? Focus on that. Maybe you needed to suffer at that job so you would come to know what it really is that you want for your life.
It’s important to polarize to the positive, but that doesn’t mean avoiding or ignoring the negative things in your life. We want to maintain a positive mindset and work towards a positive life, but it’s inevitable to experience negativity, pain and suffering. The way that we polarize to the positive is by accepting that negativity and working with it to create a positive outcome, a positive change in your life.
Polarizing to the positive means changing your perspective, not trying to brainwash yourself into thinking life is all sunshine and rainbows and sweeping anything that causes discomfort under the rug. It’s about turning losses into wins by using the negative for a positive outcome by shifting how you view that negativity.
The significance of the yin and yang are in everything. There is no such thing as happiness without the existence of suffering. There is good and bad in everything. Being so positive that you lose grip on reality is a bad thing. Experiencing some hardship is a good thing. Life without challenge, life without having suffered would have no meaning and give you little satisfaction. Having experienced suffering can change you for the better if you internalize it the right way and stop playing the victim.
Life is suffering. Life is hard, but you get to decide what you will do about it. Everyone suffers in one way or another and the way you take that negativity and what you do about it determines the outcome of your life.