If you missed the first two installments of this series on THE HERO’S JOURNEY, please go back to these vlogs for an introduction.
Once you’ve answered your soul’s calling, realized that the help you need will spontaneously show up in your life and are well on your way to reclaiming your power, following your “truth”, and slaying your demons – you will begin to encounter what Carl Jung calls the “tension of the opposites“.
Universal Truth: Everything in this physical world is made up of a pair of opposites.
Not exactly rocket science. But, pretty profound when you break it down. Everything in life comes from the union of feminine and masculine or positive and negative forces (think: electricity, the firing of neurons in your brain). But when you apply this to the incessant thoughts and churning emotions – crazy things happen.
In yoga, we call it “union of the opposites” or Ha-Tha (sun-moon). Every yoga practice (meditations, kriyas, mantra, mudra, asana) is designed to bring your organism (mind and body) as close as possible to harmony – where both complimentary halves are balanced. Taoism refers to the “tao” – the natural ebbing and flowing of all life. Mythology and alchemy call it hierosgamos – the sacred marriage of feminine and masculine. Depth psychology defines it as the “tension of the opposites“.
When we cross the threshold of initiation and take the leap of faith into the unknown, we are immediately confronted with this battle of light and dark, good and bad, pros and cons.
The irony is that every single interaction, relationship, circumstance, decision is fraught with this pull. Should I? Shouldn’t I? Should I stay in this relationship/job/city or not? Rarely, if ever, is a decision 100% unequivocally absolute. There are natural hesitations and considerations on both sides. This is the “Tao”.
Most of our anxiety and tension comes from the mind’s inability to accept things as they are – incomplete and conflicting. The mental body is addicted to analyzing, comparing, assessing, planning and weighing options when no clear path is in sight. When we can’t figure things out, are worried that it might turn out this way, instead of that…we become constricted, shut down and anxious.
This is not pathology. This is the path. This is a necessary part of the whole game. Instability. Tension. This is the way it is supposed to be! Anxiety is good. It will produce fruits. The aim is learning to work with anxiety.
When we grow our minds big and strong enough to hold two opposing thoughts at the same time we liberate ourselves!
“Yes…I love him, and I’m also continually disappointed that he doesn’t …..(fill in the blank).”
Both are true at the same time. Always.
The work is to strengthen our ability to sustain this tension. Hold both sides as absolutely true and instead of viewing it as an apparent contradiction, can we see it as complimentary?
Can you grow your heart big enough to hold two opposing emotions simultaneously?
Once you do…staying patient, compassionate (because this is no cake walk) and understanding with yourself and others…a crazy thing happens. Eventually, or as Krishna Das says “gradually, but inevitably” – a third option reveals itself.
This is known as the transcendent function. When you teeter-totter back and forth for long enough, eventually something else is born. Remember it’s only when the sperm and egg come together that something new is birthed! An answer appears. You become clear as to the next right step. Eventually, this tension, anxiety, impatience gives way to an “Ah-Ha” moment.
So, this week…stay the course. Be courageous in sitting at the crossroads. Do nothing. Don’t worry. Be. Breathe deep. Trust. Be kind to yourself. You may be asked to ride this wave of pros and cons for months, years even.
This is the way. Trust that something else is at work. Working on you. It will appear. You will know where to go.
Or you won’t.
Either way…the journey is the destination. There is no such thing as perfect symmetry in the natural world.
Enjoy the ride.
Please “like” or “share” this if you are inspired. Please leave a comment and give us an example of where or how you are sitting in the middle of two opposing thoughts or feelings. Your story helps others.
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