Neither Yin Nor Yang Revisited

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    I’m returning to the phrase neither yin nor yang. This time with a different understanding that I think gets to the heart of Bagua and what makes it a unique art. I’d propose that “neither yin nor yang” is the center of the Bagua circle. Everything we practice plays back and forth from yang to yin or yin to yang. At a later stage you can pay attention to both of them at once and you begin to understand what “both yin and yang” means.

    Neither yin nor yang is born from the ability to be aware of “both yin and yang” at once. It is in the center between them. It isn’t yin. It isn’t the yang. It is neither yin nor yang.

    Ultimately, Bagua wants to find the center between yin and yangs between any opposites. The Bagua symbol represents a bunch of different manifestations. Each has its opposite. Each has a center between them. That space is not the tai chi space. It is emptiness and not much can be said about emptiness because anything that would be said is really just another manifested yin or yang. The solidity of those manifestations is arguably an illusion.

    Any one of the Bagua Palms can be used to study the center and I’m finding the central channel is key to the awareness that is required to study it. All of neigung can be used as well. All 16 parts are example after example of yin and yangs. So they can be used to find and study the center.

    One of my favorites at this time is number 8, working with the energies of the external aura. The Wind Palm is particularly well suited for this one, but it isn’t exclusive to it. The forms become containers, neigung supplies all manner of opposites, and the central channel gives us access to “neither yin nor yang”. The whole underlying fabric is empty. The miracle is that we perceive anything.



    “The solidity of those manifestations is arguably an illusion”

    Is “emptiness” an illusion or real?

    The difference between “emptiness” and “both yin and yang” depends on the fact that I can not perceive the unified world in all of its minute detail.
    I can see the characteristic of a thing “yin” or of a thing “yang” or of “emptiness,”
    but not other states at the same time—
    like a sketch of a cube on flat paper that can be seen flipping from being oriented right-to-left or front-to-back, but not both ways at the same time.
    Our brain creates optical realities, really illusions—
    it creates a cube with volume off a 2-D plane;
    it creates flips between 2 different orientations;
    it fills in the “blind spots” at optic nerve heads.

    So, arguably “emptiness,” as well as “neither yin nor yang” and “both yin and yang” are illusions.
    “Emptiness” may only be nothing other than the complete number of infinite states that our limited brain and blurry vision of the world fails to distinguish.
    (see: Rovelli, Carlo, “The Order of Time.”)

    It would be a miracle if we could perceive everything.

    Too bad that we believe that the little we do perceive is “real.”

    I recall telling the Zen story of one master pulling the other’s nose and saying that this is the only way to grasp “emptiness.”
    Both a nose and “emptiness” are parts of the unified whole.
    (Both the “moon” and “the finger pointing to the moon” are parts of the unified whole.)



    Bagua studies wu ji. It is the art of change. Some degree of emptiness is required to change from one thing to another. Everything in Bagua practice and meditation is designed to make this conscious. The degree to which you can relax and release is directly proportional to the degree of emptiness you experience. Again, if you aren’t working with wu ji, you aren’t doing Bagua.



    The problem we have is getting stuck. You could look at manifestation as getting stuck. It might be more accurate to say, when manifestation lacks balance, it is stuck. This is the idea of being enslaved by a thing. If you lack the ability to see both the yin and yang, you are only seeing one or the other. You can’t release without both.

    I think this is why the Taoists say you could view the whole art from the perspective of balance. The central channel is found through balance. The up and the down reveal it. The left and the right reveal it. The front and the back reveal it. The in and the out reveal it.

    We get stuck all the time. We enslave ourselves all the time. Bagua is a profound art when you get to wu ji and start to understand emptiness.



    When I originally posted this, I was playing primarily with the external aura. Lately I’ve been revisiting the cavities as part of opening and closings in the EATC. I’ve been using them to practice finding the balance in the central channel that makes it possible to glimpse emptiness.

    On a much more concrete level, we open the cavities; we close the cavities; we both open and close the cavities; and finally we balance the opening and closing so well that we perceive neither the closing or the opening, neither yin nor yang.

    Yes, this is a bit of a riddle…until you can directly control the opening and closing of your cavities from the cerebral spinal fluid. Then the mind directs the chi, the chi follows, the blood follows the chi, and strength follows. More importantly, you create the possibility of perceiving the emptiness.

    One side note on the cavities: has anyone found the backside of the cavities? I think every cavity has a correspondence on the backside of the spine. We generally only think about the cavities on the front of the body. That’s also the only way Bruce has taught them to my knowledge. As ming men is to the lower tan tien, I have found that each cavitiy is balanced similarly.



    The Bladder merdian along the back of the spine has sets of acupoints that correspond to the back of organs.
    The Du Mai Extraordinary Vessel (Regulatory/Governing Vessel) also has acupoints that correspond to the organs; Mingmen on the Du Mai accesses the Kidneys (as you noted).

    These Bladder points are Back-Shu (transport) points and Gate Points that connect to the corresponding internal organ.

    Shenshu BL-23 the Kidney Shu points are 1 1/2 thumb widths lateral to both sides of the spinus process.

    Zhishi BL-52 The Residence of Will points are 3 thumb widths lateral to
    both sides of the spinus process.

    Mingmen DU-4 Gate of Life or Gate of Destiny point is below the spinus process of the second-lumbar vertebra.

    These 5 acupoints are all at the same level behind the kidneys.
    I think that they access the back sides of the kidneys.

    BL-52 BL – 23 DU-4 BL-23 BL-52

    Likewise, the intestines, stomach, spleen, pancreas, diaphgram, heart, trplie burners, heart, pericardium, lungs have similar sets of thes Bladder Transport and Gate and Du mai points which are connected to internal organs.

    Each day lying down I use a set of 4 jade balls to put pressure on these points—sort of like rolling out myofascia.




    What I’m experiencing is opposite the cavity of the throat notch, opposite the heart cavity, opposite the solar plexus, and mingmen. On the sides I can feel the cavities in the kwa, shoulder’s nest, and midriff entering the spine similarly.

    You get a really nice sense of balancing in all directions. Up/down, front/back, left/right, and ultimately in/out.



    I really didn’t understand what a “cavity” is or what they do.
    On Facebook, Trevor Barry listed 8 cavities.
    Some may be accessed through acupoints along the back near the spine. (Obviously the elbow cavity has no direct connection from the Bladder meridian—although the knee cavity might)
    This is a whole new area for me to explore.

    It blew my mind when in month 7 of O&C Edition Bruce identified the location and function of the solar plexus cavity.



    The cavities were taught as part of Core III, Marriage of Heaven and Earth. They particularly make sense after you’ve found the tai chi space and moved to the shen phase where you can directly control them from the cerebral spinal fluid. This is where Bruce’s statement about how each joint catalyzes the movement in every other joint in the body makes sense (about 1:50 in EATC Qigoing Month 6 video 8).

    Bruce seems to organize around the pulsing of the joints much more than I do. I tend to organize around the vascular system and see the tai chi space and central channel as upgrades on the path to finding the one change.

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