Thoughts on living with duality – being even tempered

I have always stressed the importance of living with duality.  It’s not easy though.  Perhaps its for this reason that I consider it one of the best traits a person can develop.  Living with duality creates a well tempered character, I think. 

What do I mean by living with duality?  It means living with ‘good’ and ‘bad’, both, in life.  It means accepting ‘good’ and ‘bad’ as a part of life.  It means an acceptance of both conditions as they stand next to each other in life. 

Often, the tendency is to embrace ‘good’ and recoil from the ‘bad’.  This, it seems, is normal.  But, by so doing, we overemphasize one aspect of life and neglect the other.  To completely turn away from the ‘bad’ is like living life through a tube to me.  It makes life narrow.  

But looking and accepting the ‘bad’ is not easy.  It can be painful and bring on great turmoil and conflict.  Also, looking out the ‘bad’ can as if bring out the bad in us, something most of us don’t want to see.

I should point out that by ‘bad’ I mean anything that makes us recoil in some way.  I don’t necessarily mean it in a moral sense (though it can be).  Something that is ‘bad’ we retract from and avoid.  It can be a situation, a thought, a memory, an impulse, a desire, etc. that is within us.  It can also be similar things observed in other people or situations. 

Now, by ‘looking at’ I mean that a person confronts the ‘bad’.  A person usually knows of the ‘bad’, which is why they avoid it, but knowing it is not the same as confronting it.  By confronting it you experience it.  It’s as if taken in to ones self.  For, it is true, that for to benefit from the ‘bad’ a person must take it within ones self.  This means you can’t sit and reflect on it, intellectualize it, debate it, or stuff like that.  Most certainly, the ‘bad’ must be experienced to be of any real benefit.  By experience I mean experiencing the passion it causes with us:  disgust, anger, revulsion, etc.  This passion must be experienced.

This is because it is the passion behind the ‘bad’ that holds its power and usefullness.  In reality, it is that which we recoil from, it’s that which we avoid.  The passion is what makes us recoil and react.  It is the ‘force’, the entity which we must confront.

It’s good to confront the ‘bad’ for a number of reasons:

–  The pain of ‘bad’ hides a transformation.  Sometimes, the pain of ‘bad’ is because there is something within us trying to transform and grow ourselves.  Because of this it scares us and appears to be ‘bad’.

–  It allows aspects of our self to come out.  Often, these aspects our self only appear ‘bad’ at first.  Once they are known and confronted they turn into something that is often beneficial and good.

–  It teaches us to accept pain and conflict.

–  It forces us to learn to control ourself. 

–  It teaches us to accept things as they are. 

–  It teaches us humility as we retract from the ‘bad’ due to our own inabilities.

–  It makes us fail and fall in life.  By failing we learn to grow and be somebody. 

In effect, it seems one of the big qualites that living with duality brings is an even tempered quality.  This creates, it seems to me, a tendency to look at life more evenly and fairly and practically.  It creates, I think, a more wise way at looking at things.  A person tends to create a balance between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ in their perspectives of things. 

I’ve found that people who do look at the ‘bad’ tend to learn to have a respect for it.  In other words, there’s an absence of moralizing about it.  Moralizing, it seems, appears to be just another form of retracting from the ‘bad’.  People who confront the ‘bad’ tend to look at its ‘fact’ with respect and, accordingly, give it its place, however they may not like it.  This, in effect, shows the power of the ‘bad’ and that it is here to stay.  No moralizing, no criminilizing, no devaluing is going to get rid of it.

By not looking at the ‘bad’ and confronting it we have a tendency to be one sided and to be more narrow minded, as we tend to live in our ‘non-bad’ world which, in reality, is an illusion.  All around us is ‘bad’, we just won’t look at it. 

There is a point, though, where a person can only take so much of ‘bad’.  For some, this isn’t much.  But, for others, they can go quite a ways.  A person must learn to know how much of the ‘bad’ they can handle, about themselves, others and the world.  Going too far can bring someone into an area they are not prepared for and cause problems.

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