‘Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings’ is another meaningful Marvel movie, which presents an unstereotypical Asian superhero but also teaches us about yin and yang.
Feminine and masculine energies not only encircle us everywhere outside in the world but also exist inside ourselves. We all have both feminine and masculine sides and only accepting them both brings balance into our existence. But yin and yang symbolizes not only female and male but also light and darkness, negative and positive forces, and finally disorder and order. Shang-Chi’s mother tells him when he is just a little boy: ‘Lead with your breath. Look into your heart, the light and the dark. To know yourself you must face them both’.
And knowing ourselves is important because awareness is the first step to awakening. ‘Your mother knew who she was. Do you?’ – his aunt asks Shang-Chi at some point of his journey. And she adds: ‘You are a product of all who came before you. The legacy of your family, the good and the bad. It is all a part of who you are’. He needs to accept his roots, both from his mother’s and his father’s side. And only when he accepts and integrates his own shadow he can learn how to use both fight styles – the aggressive one represented by his father and the dance-like soft technique of his mother.
His father explained well how it works: ‘She showed me a part of myself I didn’t know was there. It was like I was seeing the world for the first time’. Meeting his future wife has changed his life forever: ‘She gave up everything so we could be together. And so did I. After all those years I finally found something worth growing old for’. Unfortunately, after his wife dies he comes back to the old ways. But Shang-Chi is willing to learn and to change for good. His metamorphose is long lasting.
Shang-Chi embarks on a journey to explore himself and he realizes on the way that he cannot run away from his past anymore. He has to embrace it. At the end of the film Shang-Chi confesses to his friend Katy and becomes very vulnerable while talking to her and admitting to all the awful things that he did in the past. And she makes him realize that he was just a little boy who did everything he could to protect himself from the world. He then understood that now he is an adult and he can make more mature choices. He can decide who he is. He can awaken his heart of the dragon and use his powers for good.
We should also take a journey inwards and get to know ourselves better: our programming and our dark sides. To shine our light we need to first cast it on our darkness and see what is hiding there. Then understand where it comes from and choose to act differently from then on.