Apple pie and cheddar cheese.
Fear and courage.
Hungry and satisfied.
Independent and dependent.
Grief and compassion.
Utter lostness and presence.
Single and partnered.
Strength and helplessness.
Female and male.
Dualities. Opposites. Two halves of a whole.
I name them, breathe them, own them.
They are part of our human experience.
Without one, the other does not arise.
Often in relationship we see this clearly. If I hold down the pole of the kids keeping their room clean, you will hold down the opposite one—the kids should do what they want. If I say I want to work all day, you say, we’d better give ourselves enough time to rest and do other things…
It’s like we are covering the full spectrum of life in these dualities.
One complements the other. How could I really feel satisfied if I never felt hungry? Without being lost, how would I feel my presence? How could I really enjoy my apple pie for breakfast without a good hunk of cheddar cheese? 😊 (Thanks, mom!)
Diamond Approach teacher AH Almaas takes it a step further and says that the qualities of our Essence arise as needed.
It’s not that we just don’t feel the pole without its opposite. An Essential Quality like Compassion has no need to arise unless a state of suffering like grief or fear or shame calls for it. Strength only arises when needed—when I’m feeling helpless, weak, unconfident, etc.
One is not “good” and the other “bad.”
That’s just another duality—each side of the equation keeping the other alive…
The old saying “Two halves make a whole” has some relevance here.
My mom used to emphasize that in relationship, that saying is not true—if we come to each other as halves, we won’t find wholeness. We each need to be whole in ourselves first.
This also applies in looking at life through the lens of duality. If I get caught up in juxtaposing the halves, the good-bad, strong-weak, independent-dependent, happy-sad, etc., I am not living into the wholeness that is possible.
Holding each pole of the duality, welcoming it, getting to know it, and not grasping, but opening ourselves (heart, body, and mind) allows something new, fresh, and essential to arise.
How do you work with duality in your life?
Dave & I are teaching a full-day workshop about this:
And I will be teaching a 4-week series on Forgiveness, which I have found is a HUGE part of being able to open to the innate wholeness, too: