Whenever I am in an argument, I am somewhere in the field of polarities. Another way of saying that is that I am either leaning toward one end of the polarity pole or the other.
I am insisting that I am right and the other is wrong. This attitude completely misses the reality that the polarities are complimentary, not contradictory… that the pole is really ONE!
When I understand the complimentary nature of polarities, then my “rightness” ceases to encase me and I can understand the opposing pole reality. In fact, the opposition melts away and there is just a picture of the oneness of the POLE!
An example: Years ago, my wife wanted to sell our Japanese prints at $10 each. I suggested we sell them for $5. She got very upset and said that she couldn’t comprehend how I would sell them for so little. I responded that we weren’t selling them for ANYTHING, so that $5 was better than nothing.
This opposition escalated into an all-out argument, with each of us taking our positions in opposition to the other.
When I saw that we were just creating opposites and that it would never work to stay there, I began to realize the polarity nature of the situation. I could certainly see her position. In fact we had had a similar argument almost twenty years ago when she wanted to sell valuable popular comics at a sale price. I insisted that they were worth much more…and the polarity game began.
What I get now is to do what people learning the Japanese art of aikido understand: step over to see what the other is seeing. If I hold that my position is the ONLY position, then I can’t see or understand what the other sees and understands.
And it doesn’t matter if the other stays in their polarized position so long as I am willing to see the entire pole, instead of only my position. Then I have compassion and do not need to convince the other of their erring ways!
My experience of dealing with polarities has led to the understanding that they only exist as opposites in the mind! There, they are certainly contradictory. Outside of the THOUGHTS of good and bad (= outside the mind), they are complementary! Night and day – as with good and bad – aren’t two separate things; they are deeply joined together.
And certainly to connect with our hearts is a way to be outside the mind! And the only way I know of really doing this is to connect with the silence and stillness inside of us through meditation.
So for me, meditation has become the key. It opens the door to greater awareness and clarity.
Now, when I remember, I stop trying to “become” something, which just creates another polarity in the mind (who I am now vs. who I want to become)! And in those moments when I relax into who I am – in that relaxed, accepting space – I have found that doing what I had perceived of as “good” happens without any notion of good or bad – and without any effort! What a paradox!
I read an intriguing Japanese proverb: “The reverse side also has a reverse side.”
It says to me that both sides – both poles of a polarity – must be recognized.
That is one of the most difficult things for the mind to grasp. For example, there is “good” and “bad.” The mind chooses one (almost invariably “good”) and then rejects what it calls “bad.” This creates a perpetual need for “bad” so that it can be “good.” After all, “good” is defined by “bad.”
What a crazy game! When we understand that good and bad are two sides of the same coin, we can relax into whatever is happening, without choosing one over the other. We have both sides, and to exclude one creates the need to keep the separation – and the other side – alive.
Imagine choosing day over night. What a futile life that would be…