Monday, October 22, 2007

The Absence of Balance is Like Standing on the Outside but Thinking I am in

Do opposites really exist? Love and fear are called opposites, but isn't fear really the absence of love? As chaos is the absence of order. And darkness is the absence of light.

Black and white are sometimes referred to as opposites. But since black absorbs all color, and white reflects all color, at what point are they separated from each other?

It can be debated that all things deemed as
opposites are really only separated by fine blurry lines, volume or perception. Like the opposite of quiet is not loud; quiet is loud with the volume turned down. The fine line between love and hate varies depending on the root of the 'hate;" whether it is fear based or based on an emotional perception.

Balance is the key to understanding all of this. I have been struggling all my life to achieve balance. For my grandma who used to say to me, "everything in moderation," she understood balance, and applied it to the best of her ability, even despite to her difficult circumstances. I, on the other hand, have always been an 'all or nothing' kind of person. Feast or famine. Anything but balanced in yin yang harmony. But, as I come to see that opposites do not really exist, I also see that I have been creating the drama of the extremes in my life.

I have been made more aware of this as I have come to recognize one of my greatest character flaws; indulgence. I began to see myself indulging in everything from tears to fun to work to sleep to . . . ironically enough: the act of indulgence itself.

After sometime beating myself up over my greatest flaw and seeing that I was now indulging myself in self-reflection and self-awareness . . . I laughed. I could only laugh. But not too much.

Now, I think I have gained a better understanding about indulgence. Indulgence is the act of attempting to achieve Zen . . . the Zen state . . . but turning the volume up full blast; the act of absorbing something - as black absorbs all color but does not reflect or give back in an equal-balanced exchange of energies. Zen is becoming one with something - as white becomes one with all colors, reflects all colors, and becomes so balanced with all colors that it appears to be no color at all - nothing.

So, yesterday morning while I was having coffee at a friend's home on the lake, I sat quietly alone (she was sleeping) staring at the water with a heart-full of gratitude; gratitude for my friends and family, my health, for life, for the water. The brilliant morning sun sparkled radiantly on the soft wake of a sailboat. I sat. I sat. I sat. The water . . . water . . . water . . . until the transient bursts of light became too intense for my eyes. But even so, I did not want to look away. The sight was so amazing and hypnotizing. It was at that moment of my hesitation - my resistance - when I knew my state of Zen had passed. I got up and walked away.

Potions, lotions and magic charms: Take this exact moment, this very second, this breath and this heartbeat. . . to become completely and absolutely present in yourSelf.

This I now know:
Resistance is a sign that either the state of Zen has passed or it is just beyond the next breath.

He said / She said:
“Children are natural Zen masters; their world is brand new in each and every moment.” John Bradshaw


eric1313 said...

(the dots are just for getting my comment out of the post title :)

Even hate is not the opposite of love. Love and hate can coexist.

Ignorance comes closest to be the opposite of love, but that too falls way short of being so.

One can fear love, and love can be fearful.

Good observation that these are not opposites. They are feelings that are perfectly capable of coexisting, and yet do not balance each other out at all.

Are war and peace opposites? That would be an excellent philosophical discussion. Your firm grasp of phlosophy makes for good reading.

I've used the opposite motif in some of my poems, but even if one were to recognize it as a flawed line of thought, at least I got them to think. And that is all the best one can hope to do.

Michelle's Spell said...

All great thoughts, Lindy! As for indulgence, I too enjoy the state and think of the old Blake line about the how the road to excess leads to the palace of wisdom. I've never been very balanced person but I'm getting there little by little! As for regaining one's wonder, I couldn't agree more. I think of how jaded I've become at times and try and stop that and look around and be interested in things again.

Pythia3 said...

Hi Eric,
I think the word "opposite" itself can have more than one meaning (again, depending on balance). For example, the extreme mind may give the word an extreme definition... however, the balanced mind may not see it in the same black-white term. You know what I mean? Yin - Yang could be looked at as opposite extremes or as a scale of measurement with each side co-existing in a fluctuating balanced way.
War can be viewed as the absence of peace - for without knowing "war" we would not truly know peace. Sometimes the "balance" needs to appear unbalanced - with the scales tipping in favor of the more desirable of the two "opposites" - and with the respectful understanding that at any time the balance could be interrupted and reversed.
I agree with you about writing, painting, art in general - getting one to think. As is said - we teach what we need to learn. I feel the questions are much more valuable and intriguing than the answers!

eric1313 said...

"We teach what we need to learn"

When I tutored English at Macomb, I learned that so well. I truly did learn more than my students, and I taught them well. I made the other tutors look lazy by comparison. They claimed "I did to much". pfffff.


They would sit there and stare at a student who kept mumbling I don't get it, and all they would say is things like, "Well, I can't do the work for you." Which is true, you can't do the work for them. I didn't. I would get fired for that!

But I would do everything else to help them understand what they weren't quite getting, write notes in their margin, tell them how to properly order their papers, tell them what specific professors wanted. I knew I did good when people came and requested me specifically, and even better, when they didn't come back at all after a few visits. And best of all when they would come back and hug me, or buy me dinner or just show me their grades and thank me.

And no matter how much I taught them, I always learned more than they. The irony of teaching.

And I got your meaning. Yin and yang are more of counterparts than opposites. So very true. Balance is a lot more difficult that "a little of this, a little of that." It's an art unto itself.

I like this blog a lot, Lindy. Thanks for sharing your answers so openly. We both learn from it!

Peace out.

Erik Donald France said...

There's another element that reflects on these polar elements -- the mirror. Mystical and cool ruminations . . . . . just like a Sagittarius ;) Wicked!