How whole do you think you are?
In our natural state, we are filled with dualities. All our sensations, impressions, feelings and thoughts, are divided into good and bad, positive and negative, useful and harmful, necessary and unnecessary, pleasant and unpleasant. Our thoughts contradict our feelings, our instincts undermine our desire for peace and quiet. We perceive and experience our whole life through this process of opposites.
In the Incan tradition there is no such thing as opposing forces. Instead, the world is perceived as being alive and responsive and composed of vibrating fields of pure energy. This energy is divided into two sides of the same spectrum; Sami and Hucha. Sami is known as purer energy that has been refined through conscious work and the cultivation of awareness. Hucha, on the other hand, is not ‘negative’, ‘bad’ or ‘dark’ energy, but rather is simply heavier energy because it is incompatible or disharmonious with the present situation.
This way of looking at the world makes it much easier to avoid the opposing dualities we create. Instead of seeing the world as a variety of split up opposites, the Incan tradition sees that everything consists of different densities of vibration, but all that which is vibrating is the same force.
As we already know from science; all that exists is energy condensed into different frequencies of vibration. My point is that once we realize that we don’t need to see the world in black and white, we realize that it instead exists in a variety of different shades of grey. Ultimately this creates greater wholeness in our lives. In this article I will explore why exactly this is.
Daemon est Deus inversus (Devil is God inverted) ~ W. B. Yeats
The Chinese have a beautiful way of explaining the Yin and Yang; they describe them as “arising mutually“. A great way to illustrate this is to study the nature of flowers and bees.
In our perception they are entirely different beings; one flies and buzzes, the other is rooted in the ground and colorfully perfumes the environment so bees are attracted to it. But have you ever considered that they are in fact one single organism? While the bees are the sexual organs of flowers, the flowers are the nourishment of the bees. They are entirely the opposite of each other, just as our sexual organs and mouths appear different as well, but they depend on one another to survive, they are one and the same, they arise mutually.
Opposing natural forces that enhance each other are seen everywhere in the world. What we call a “full moon” for example, is defined by the relative position of the Earth to the Sun. The moon is always full, but to us it only appears to be full when its entire visible face is reflecting the light of the sun. The moon’s “shine” is brightest when it is faced with its opposition.
I have previously written about encountering your Shadow Self, and the wholeness that this experience can create. To “shine your brightness” does not necessarily mean to show your best and most noble qualities, instead, it means to seek the opposing forces within you, shining your brightest, experiencing your full moon.
Nietzsche put it this way in his masterwork Thus Spoke Zarathustra:
My brothers in war! I love you from the very heart, I am and have always been of your kind. And I am also your best enemy.
He felt that we should’nt care about picking our friends as we will naturally be attracted to those who are like us. Instead, pick your enemies wisely, for they will be the ones to challenge you, the ones who force you to be more aware, awake and sharp.
Opposing forces provides clarity in our wholeness, they shed light on the dark side of the moon. By this, I mean that you’ll learn about your attractive and noble traits, as well as your hideous and ignoble ones.
Opposition helps to reveal hidden things within us. We can’t see these hidden things until confronted by something that appears to be very different, or even opposite from us. How can you learn about your depth of compassion if you aren’t confronted with coldness, indifference or suffering? How can you learn about your capacity for fear until risking everything for love? How can you learn about your capacity for gentleness until being met with harshness?
Dark Night Of The Soul
Those who seek should not stop seeking until they find. When they find, they will be disturbed. When they are disturbed, they will marvel, and will reign over all. And after they have reigned they will rest. ~ Gospel of Thomas (2:1, 2)
There is no personal growth, no awakening in life and no awakening to life, without first seeing and acknowledging our existing dissatisfaction. This dissatisfaction is not the usual day-to-day kind, but is rather a deep, internal disappointment, it is that gaping inner void which constantly reminds us that something is missing, something at a core level is lost.
To live in mediocrity is to never encounter this essential dissatisfaction. Being absorbed in routines, avoiding anything of substance and depth, and accepting your limited life, all amounts to ignoring the fact that something substantially deep and vital is lacking.
To awaken to this deep dissatisfaction in ones life, is what in mystical history they referred to as experiencing a “dark night of the soul“. This essentially, is the experience of a spiritual or existential crisis in ones search for God or Enlightenment. Polish psychologist Kazimierz Dabrowski coined the modern term “Positive Disintegration” to describe this experience which is considered necessary for personal growth.
The moment we are born, our mortal human existence arises mutually with an opposite force, the existence of our eternal divine origins. It is our natural urge to search for this whole-making process that is to find our “holiness”. The more aware we become of our unity with our surroundings and our lack of individual separation, the greater the urge to find our wholeness will be.
The Art Of Joining Opposites
The word alone is a wonderful word that, unlike lonely, reflects the fullness and completeness you enjoy in your own solitary presence. The word “alone” literally means wholly oneness or all-in-one.
At the root of your spiritual journey, you are alone. Nobody but you can penetrate the depths of your being. Some people will meet you along your path; some guides, some friends and enemies, but always be aware that these people are just visitors, with lessons and challenges for you to grapple.
For the person who seeks to transcend duality, to reconnect to their Wholeness, their Oneness, there will always be a pull, an attraction towards Solitude.
Solitude is the mutually arising opposite of company. The “I Am” false identity only exists in the presence of others, the “I’m Not” experience of oneness is more easily found when one is alone.
I’ve always been a strong advocate for spending time alone, at least 20 minutes a day. You can use that time to become aware, witness and understand the dance of opposites within and without you. Spirituality in its essence is about experiencing non-duality; seeing and sensing the profound interrelatedness and ultimate Oneness, of everything. To accomplish this, you have to learn how to identify and separate the opposing parts that dance around, and master the art of joining them together.
Here are some suggestions you can use to create greater wholeness in your life:
Identify the opposing forces: Observe the dualities within you; good and bad, generous and greedy, selfless and selfish, beautiful and ugly, love and hate etc.
Bridge these opposing forces: Through sincere acceptance and honesty with ourselves of our “good” and “bad” traits, greater wholeness can be achieved in our lives. Exploring our Shadow Self, in particular, helps us to acknowledge and embrace the darker elements of ourselves.
Learn how to identify the interconnectedness of life’s opposites: Become aware of how the forces of life change your perception of reality. For example: to feel the impact of cold, we must have known warmth before. Hot and cold compliment each other because they are the same experience (temperature) in different degrees, rather than being two separate experiences.
Experience the wholeness of opposites: The reason why “relativity” exists is because everything varies depending on the position of the spectrum it is in. Cold is not really “cold”, it is just a lesser amount of “hot”. Hot is not hot, it is just a lesser amount of cold.
Little by little these awareness exercises reveal that the “I and That” notion doesn’t exist at all: it is illusory. But first we must learn to become true, whole and defined individuals. It seems paradoxical, but only when you have become a true, complete and well-defined individual can you hope to go beyond individuality. In other words, without first developing your ego or sense of self, you can never hope to experience an ego death.
Only once we take responsibility for our multidimensional nature – understanding the angel and the devil within us, the compassion and heartlessness, the artistic and the intellectual – can we begin to become fully human. Only then can we truly love ourselves.
It is then, once we are fully human, that we can aim to experience Holiness; to connect to our divinity.