Monday Morning Tai Chi Training Tip # 282
Yin and Yang of Life Expectancy
Last year I passed the average age of life expectancy for males in the US – 76. For women, it is 81. Why am I bringing this up?
During the summer I spend more time in the garden, and it recently got me thinking about the yin and yang of life. There are two main periods in a life – growth (yang) and decay (yin). It is just the way of life for all forms of life on Earth – animal, vegetable, and mineral (minerals grow and decay also). Some plants live one year. They are called annuals. They fruit in one year, which contain seeds for next year, and then die. Some plants live two years, fruiting in the second year, called bi-annual. And some plants seems to be almost immortal, fruiting every year for many years – called perennials.
Humans are perennials with an average life expectancy of 78 years. According to our Tai Chi Double Fish symbol, there is equal balance between the black and white fish. That would mean that the yang growth phase of a life would be around 39 years and the opposite or closing yin phase is around the same 39 years.
I don’t want to die, yet I know I will. I do want my time here to be enjoyable, worthwhile, and to leave the earth better for my having lived here now. Because of my 52 years of Tai Chi study and practice, I am used to looking within and detecting sensations that arise. I am not as strong, flexible, quick, or have as much endurance as I did in the growth phase, but I know enough not to fight the yin phase, just observe the diminishing energy as it returns to the source. Tai Chi, and Taoism in general, have so many lessons on the power of acceptance, especially not to fight what is inevitable.
That does not mean to give up prematurely. Our Tai Chi practice can aid in making a worthwhile life experience. My Tai Chi form keeps changing. It is a wonderful gage of how my body/mind changes, and a lesson on letting go of thinking about how I used to be, and experiencing how I am at this moment.