Seaming Seeming Opposites

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Audio Version

So many of our challenges in communication come from creating an “other.” Today’s blog is dedicated to healing that which seems to divide our world. I invite you to join in dedicating your practice today to that healing.

I’ll begin with a story from my own life from over 20 years ago. I was on the board of a professional organization and there was a woman on the board with whom I always seemed to clash. No matter the agenda item for the meeting, we seemed to be on opposite sides of it. Over time, I began to brace myself for how I would deal with her at an upcoming meeting.

In the process, she became the “other.” In my mind, a story began to emerge about her. I told myself, “She is the toughest person I’ve ever met.”

Skipping ahead in the story a couple years, after we were no longer serving on the board together, we found ourselves at the same party, hosted by a common friend. We began to talk about our previous interactions on the board and realized we had made up stories about each other that were far from true. It turns out “the toughest person I’ve ever met” went home and cried after the meetings.

When we create an “other,” they appear to be separate from us, and therefore, it seems impossible to connect. In creating the other, we also create a notion of win/lose. Either I win or the other wins. We see this right now in the United States with our two major political parties, Democrats and Republicans. Each party, and its followers, tend to demonize the other. Rather than seeing differing perspectives, a story emerges, imagining sinister plots and questionable intentions.

One of the core concepts of the Science of Mind philosophy of Ernest Holmes is that Spirit is a transcendent, perfect Whole that contains and embraces all seeming opposites. Can we step into the larger sense of ourselves to embrace ‘seeming’ opposites? How far can we go to embrace others as ourselves, as our brothers and sisters?

In recognizing our own divinity and the divinity of others, it is quite possible to transcend this sense of separation, to see the oneness of all beings, not just in theory, but experientially.

In his book, The Life Divine, Indian spiritual teacher and philosopher, Sri Aurobindo, offered this helpful perspective: “Hence the world takes on the appearance of a clash of opposing truths each seeking to fulfill itself, each having the right to fulfillment, and therefore of a mass of problems and mysteries which have to he solved because behind all this confusion there is the hidden Truth and unity pressing for the solution and by the solution for its own unveiled manifestation in the world.”

If we can truly see that behind our desires is a divine impulse to make some part of Itself known and experienced in the world, and that this is what is also happening through everyone else, perhaps we can step back a little and see how we can come into cooperation with the greater good that is wanting to emerge. Rather than creating “others,” and with it a sense of separation, we can see oneness and then look for how we can contribute to the greater good that is emerging. Perhaps we can see that we don’t need to try to win over a seeming opponent, but rather we can discover the good in the perspective of the seeming other, and how that good can be combined with the good in our own perspective to reveal a more perfect world.

In Matthew 12:46-50, Jesus was talking to his disciples when one pointed out that his mother and brothers wanted to speak with him. Jesus said, “who is my mother and who are my brothers?” He was not being disrespectful to his family. He was one who had transcended the sense of separation and opposites. In other words, everyone was his brother and his mother.

To complete my opening story, the woman who I had seen as my opponent or “other” on the board, not only became my friend, but also was one of two people who introduced me to the Science of Mind philosophy that has changed my life, and in which I am now a minister and teacher. Someone I had imagined as my nemesis turned out to be an agent of great good in my life, leading me to the single greatest opening on my spiritual journey.

The invitation today is to consider where we might have invented “others” and to see if, instead, we can perceive the truth of oneness and the wholeness that contains and embraces all seeming opposites.

Enjoy the journey.

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