the universe

TAO is an idea, allbeit a spiriual one, of an energy that manifests and functions everywhere. This takes on the mystical qualities of creation, and, as far as Taoists are concerned, dimensions and qualities that are beyond mere words or descriptions.
However, to account for Chance andChange in the world, this energy is 'divided' into two different flows or directions - each supporting or competing with the other, to produce all the 'effects' or conditions in the world.

At the very start, the ancient Chinese, looking at Nature, were able to see these effects, and determined that there must be a cause or origin in the form of an 'energy'. One flow or 'direction' of this energy was seen as forceful, pushing, and persistant ~ much like the water of a mountain stream.

mountain stream

Another flow, direction, or form, of this energy could be seen as expansive, growing, increasing, and cyclical in nature ~ perhaps like clouds forming, or trees filling-out with leaves and fruit in the Summer, only to release it all, and start again, later. In both cases the 'force' of energy affects the landscape, sometimes dramatically, or over time, or in more ephemeral ways.

The next step was simple, yet the consequences were profound. These two different 'types' of (the same) energy could be represented by a line, or a divided line.

yang line symbol
yin line symbol

So, 'pushing' energy can now be represented by a single line, (Yang energy) and the 'expansive' energy as a dashed, or divided, line (Yin energy). By combining these lines in 4 pairs, since the energy may not be concentrated in just one flow, attributes or qualities were added. As a result of further symbolic calculations there was another great leap in the understanding of this energy : the TRIGRAM was constructed ~


Each trigram shows the power and direction of this energy ( and every edition of The I Ching will reveal this, although, usually, in symbolic terms). By combining the forces of two trigrams, with one placed on top of another, a six line HEXAGRAM symbol was formed (in fact 64 of them).

The 64 hexagrams of The I Ching

These could now be used to reveal,

and manipulate, energy.

Only in the TAO I CHING can this energy be easily translated into personal energy and changed, if required ~ to promote harmony, awareness, and inner peace.