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TRANSCENDING DUALISTIC THINKING

I sometimes wonder whether, to be human is to be trapped in a dualistic way of thinking. Dualism is the desire to see our world in terms of opposites, such as good and bad, success and failure, heaven and hell, yin and yang, left and right, light and dark, past and future and so on. It seems that a lot of our assumptions, concepts and expectations materialise from this thinking. Sometimes this leads to stress, disappointment and unhappiness.

Could it be that our basic anatomy predisposes us to dualism? Does having a brain made up of two opposing hemispheres mean we are destined to observe our world in digital, black and white terms? Does having two hands and walking on two feet reinforce this? Could our two eyes, ears and nostrils reinforce this outlook on life?

Does our anatomy predicate us to seeing our world in a certain way, blinding us to other possibilities? It seems that science, religion and New Age thinking keep coming back to a dualistic, relative world built on comparison and separation.

Even our language holds us to certain ways of thinking. Words primarily distinguish, separate and define. They explore how we perceive things as different, rather than the same. As we often think in language, does our thinking become limited by language? We see our expression of digital thinking from the I Ching through to modern computers.

In computer terminology it is as though our hardware (mind and body) and software (language) combine to keep us in a dualistic mind set. I find it fascinating that in quantum physics our world can only be described through mathamatics, not language. We need another kind of thinking to begin to appreciate another possibility of how our universe works.

One practical step to reducing our tendency to dualistic thinking is acceptance. If we can accept life as it is, and learn to appreciate it, we can reduce the temptation to judge and analyse.

At the same time, inside ourselves we are the universe. We are made up of the particles, rhythms, cycles, and energies that we seek to define on the outside. In that sense we know everything there is to know as we are already made of everything we seek to know. For example the water particles inside our body, will have been in clouds, the sea, other people, deep into the earth and so on. The difficulty we seem to have is that we are not equipped to rationalise such ideas objectively beyond our own limitations. We are limited to a certain kind of thinking that may represent a tiny view of everything there is to understand. The big question is, whether we as humans can transcend our mental limitations and constructs?

So whilst our potentially dualistically prone minds struggle to find ways to understand everything beyond, we can also rest in the knowledge that we have it all inside. Perhaps another option is to increase our self awareness to a point that we increase our sensitivity to what is inside. When we experience moments of knowing from within, or revelations, we may have to accept we will never be able to express them until we evolve new minds and thinking. Which leaves me clumsily trying to express something without the best medium to do it in!

Copyright Simon Brown, London, 2011