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Personal Essays

Beyound Polarisation


Unity and division need each other to exist, like light needs dark, and left needs right.

If you write with white chalk on a white chalkboard, you can’t see the writing.

If all there is is beauty in the world, can you ever really know its beauty?

Duality, as it’s been called, was built into the game because it makes knowledge possible—because it makes choice possible. Knowledge is choice.

We get to understand and know things because we have the ability to choose between this and that, and experience firsthand the consequences of the choices we make.

Hugging feels one way. Sticking a fork in an electric socket feels another. Salt taste this way, pepper tastes that way. And so we learn through experience, rising in awareness as we go.

Like the changing of the seasons, the rising of the tide, or movement between day and night, nature has a meticulous way of balancing seemingly opposed elements. You never really see an extended period of winter, a tide that gets stuck, or a night that stretches on forever.

As Jill Bolte Taylor beautifully explained for us, the human brain appears to be divided into left and right hemispheres, bridged by the corpus callosum. Each, she shares, have radically opposed personalities. The right gives us, what I would call, '“now or be-consciousness.” Or, an experience of life that is peaceful, blissful, and effortless because it is merged with the whole, perfect, and complete present moment. The left because it is connected to the concept of “time” (past/future), gives us thought and thinking, which means division and judgment through constant analysing, categorisation, and comparison.

The right brain says, “All is one. And because all is one, I am one with all.” Love is the result.

The left brain says, “I am separate from the whole. There is a me and there is another.” Fear and competition is the result.

In different language, you might say the right brain is connected to the heart and the left brain is connected to the mind.

In proper order, the mind is meant to execute the command of the heart’s knowing. It is meant to be a skilled servant, not a master.

But we have not been trained to put things in the proper order. In fact, the opposite. We are taught to label and divide the world into categories and things. I am an American. I am an Italian. I am a Hindu. I am a Jesuit. That is a tree. This is a dog. We are then taught to assign degrees of superiority to each, which results in preferences for this or that. With preferences, comes expectations. With expectations, comes the possibility of loss. With loss, comes the very real possibility of attack and/or retribution.

Humanity, by-in-large, has forsaken its right-brain “peace” consciousness. It has delved too deep into left-brain “war” consciousness and taken, as gospel truth, its divided and judgmental understanding of the world. You might say then that right-brain consciousness, which is cultivated through prayer, meditation, and various forms of sacred ceremonial and spiritual practices, is one of most needed medicines of the time.

When any condition becomes chronic, it becomes unsustainable. At some point, something breaks. The relationship ends. The tire blows out. The bridge collapses.

At that point of collapse, we are left with a choice: perish or be reborn.

Nobody can make that choice for us. Nobody will make that choice for us.

It’s up to us to decide. Ultimately, to know who we are and what we stand for.

C. Lowman