Sunday, January 9, 2011

Living Life Without DUALITY - What would my life look like?

I started writing this blog on the idea of non-duality over the New Year's weekend feeling inspired by my readings in J. Krishnamurti and also Byron Katie. And then the frightful news of the Tucson shooting rampage occurred along with the news that a certain previously elected public official targeted a number of other current political figures who are “on the other side” by using cross-hairs of gun-sights on her website. To me, this screams duality: Us against Them to the point where They should be targeted and shot!  Doesn't it seem that these times in our country is spinning out of control? 

By understanding the nature and effects of living in duality, we increase our awareness of the urgency for individuals to wake up — by understanding the workings our own mind and intending, each day, to bring more Love into each of our own inner and outer worlds. It's easy to shrug my shoulders and say, how could my little effort make any difference in this chaotic world; I'm just one person.

We have heard it said: Be the Change you wish to see in the world” - as well as “You Are the World”. The way you and I relate to our brains, to each other, to our possessions, to money, to work, to sex—these immediate relationships create our society. Just imagine, our relationship to ourselves and one another multiplied by the how many billion people inhabiting this planet, now, creates the world. The collection of each of our prejudices, all our separate lonelinesses put together, each greedy or fear-driven ambition, each physical or emotional hunger, every anger, or resentment and sadness in each one of us—we are the world.

It is increasingly becoming more than a concept to me that the world is not different from me—the world is me. My thoughts, good/bad/or ugly get projected out into the world. So, it follows: if I become more aware of my thoughts, if each one of us becomes more aware and selective of our thoughts, we shift the projected thoughts onto the world. If even one of us makes this conscious effort, it has a ripple effect. Love is contagious—this Agape Love has NO Opposite.

We are typically taught what to think, but not how to think. We learn to escape loneliness and mental suffering (by a myriad of behaviors: shopping, buying, working, being busy, eating, drinking, relationships, gambling...) but we don't learn how to put an end to it.

Doesn't it make sense to you that without understanding the way our minds work we cannot understand and resolve the very complex problems of living. This understanding does not simply come through book knowledge. The mind is, in itself, quite a complex issue. In the very process of understanding one's own mind, the crisis which each one of us faces in life can be understood and moved through.

Perhaps you may have a growing sense that we live in a world of duality. This world we live in is a world of opposites and of separation. We have created this world with our minds... by the way we think and believe. Have you noticed how much of our beliefs are results of our visual perceptions—external perceptions belonging to our outer senses. Some have heard it said that we are all One. Have we thought deeply about what this means—that there is truly no separation. 

That we are all One is a difficult reality to truly grasp because we believe in what our senses perceive. To our senses, our bodies appear to be separate so we believe we are separate from each other. Our minds, our language reflect this world of duality, of separation—which breeds isolation and disconnect.
        And, as this perception of duality escalates we see more and more violence. One political party wants to kill the other. No longer are people able to have a sane discussion on topics of religion or politics--unless we already agree with each other. We cannot fathom ourselves within each other. We believe in the separation as defined by our religious beliefs, our political beliefs, the attitudes we were taught as children if we have questioned them no further, the belief in our separation by our national borders.

The definition of duality: the state or quality of being two or in two parts; dichotomy
dichotomy: division into two parts or classifications, especially when they are sharply distinguished or opposed

For most in this Western culture, our minds function in the opposites – in a dual nature. Many think in terms of 'yes' or 'no'; 'good' or 'bad'; 'right' or 'wrong'; 'better' or 'worse'; 'should' or shouldn't'; 'higher' or 'lower'. Our minds are continually and habitually judging, comparing, measuring, evaluating and criticizing. This way of thinking has become part of most people's nature. As a result, this dualistic thinking can you see how it becomes a source of much pain and suffering.

Let's make this practical. Let's look at language; do you know people who think like this:
That was good of me – I'm glad I gave that homeless person a dollar.”
I should have given that homeless person some money.” (implying I am in some way not good or was wrong)

I'm not very good at keeping my check book balanced.”
I should get better at keeping my check book balanced.”
Other people seem to do better than I when it comes to.....”
I didn't do a very good job on.....”
I hope I can get better at....”
I really messed up....”

Looking deeper, what is the implication hidden in these sentences? >> Right now, I am Not good enough, I need to and hope to CHANGE and be better in the 'future'. These unconscious thoughts tend to be the source of much inner doubt and insecurity.

Many think that by criticizing, comparing or judging ourselves, this mental activity will help us “get better … at whatever we believe we need to 'improve'. By getting down on ourselves we hope to improve. If we 'beat ourselves up' when we 'mess up' we hope this will teach us to do better. How many have been taught this way from childhood? Parents who teach by criticizing, lecturing, scolding, informing that you 'disappointed' them, or worse. Then, we turn around and apply these tactics to ourselves.

And so, the concern about Acceptance of 'What Is' appears to be that if I simply accept what Is in this moment, I will become complacent, lazy, unmotivated. I will stay stuck and won't 'get better'. Many think that this critical, judging part of us will, hopefully, keep us 'moving' forward in a good way. Why? Because, within many of us who believe in this constant need for 'improvement', lies the often hidden belief that we are, somehow, flawed...not good enough—yet!

Have you noticed that this judge and criticizer never seems to be satisfied and, furthermore, never ever seems to come around and offer a pat on the back, never says 'good job'. The reason for this fact is that this criticizing and judging belongs to dualistic thinking. When we are caught in dualistic thinking we are caught in dichotomy: this OR that. There is no 'both' 'and'.
         Furthermore, there is NO acceptance of what IS in the moment. Conversely, the act of Acceptance—LOVE--allows an alchemical transformational process to proceed within us. In other words, when I accept this moment and myself as I am--right now... as I accept this next moment (whether or not I think I "should" have done  "better")... accept this moment as it is and as I am - knowing that, in each moment I am doing my best. This on-going effort of Acceptance--of Love in this moment--allows this transformation process.

Consider, if you will, another piece of this illusory puzzle--the belief that TIME--in and of itself, alone--can improve things. People say that “in Time you'll get over it.” As if, just by waiting long enough whatever was bothering you will no longer bother you simply because TIME has Passed. I have never seen this bear out in reality. For example, I have witnessed individuals touching on a painful memory of their childhood and the emotional pain they exhibit appears as strong and as raw as the pain must have felt decades earlier. While it is true we can stuff those feelings and memories in Time, Time alone, does not appear to improve anything.

Have you ever noticed how feelings are confused with evaluation? For example, someone asks me, “How do you feel about that decision?” If I answer: “I feel good” - I am giving an evaluation. 'Good' and 'Bad' are evaluative words and belong to the world of duality. In sharing my feelings I might say: “I feel at peace with the decision.” or, “I feel relieved.”

This thought that we need to be better, or that we should have... done this or that. What do you imagine the effect this thinking has on us? Doesn't it seem that the unspoken implication is that, as I am – in this moment – I am not good enough, yet. If I try harder, I will be better. This very common thought that is believed is an example of 'non-acceptance' of what Is, in this moment.

What would my inner experience be if, at any point, I accepted the reality that in this moment... right here... right now, I and this moment is acceptable Enough. 

  •  Can I trust myself to 'do my best' without the constant scrutiny of the inner judge and negative inner critic? Do I believe that without these judgmental, non-accepting parts that I'll end up a slacker? 
  • Am I able to think about this in a new way? Can I accept that there is nothing that I must change? Can I accept that this moment is acceptable Enough, as it is right now? 
  • That if I simply set my intention in 'Noticing'... my thoughts as they go by, my feelings as they arise in me... without any need to fight them, change them or get 'rid' of them, simply to Notice – this thought is here... hmmm... interesting. And, I can always choose to Send LOVE in any moment. 

Your thoughts, feelings, impressions and experiences are most welcome and appreciated...