Being a human has its advantages, even beyond having an opposing thumb and standing upright. We have the ability to wonder and dream things up. Many of our dreams become the stuff of reality. But how we see reality and how we relate to it, even what we actually call real or unreal is just as much of a wonder as are the realms beyond the fringes of the visible Universe.
Bound by a body, we are destined to decay and death. Endowed with a soul, we are destined for immortality. In everyday life, we struggle and suffer either unhappy with our circumstance or yearning for our greatness. Consciously, or unconsciously, we walk through life until one day it ends and it’s hard to say if we ever resolve the conundrum of what and who we really are.
In integral circles (where I happen to hang out and find validation of my ideas) we hold that the source of suffering from our human conundrum is the inability to hold our two opposing truths in the same space without conflict and actually enjoy them equally. The proverbial pendulum swings from materiality to immortality and hardly ever stops in the middle where they meet and support each other.
What does it look like when the pendulum is all the way into materiality? It looks like striving to accumulate, however never having enough despite of how abundant one’s life is. It looks like a fear of loss because one is so identified with what one has – body, stuff, reputation, friends, etc, that if something is lost, so is the sense of self worth. If the body is old or maimed, if the car is stolen, if the reputation is destroyed, if the friends have left…one feels like nothing. There is no room for spirit, no sense of one’s immortal being. But there’s a lot of drive to make things happen. A person fully and completely engrossed in materiality has his/her feet on the ground firmly but does not even know that the sky exists.
What does it look like when the pendulum is all the way into immortality? Death, really, but for a living being obsessed with spirit, it looks like spiritual bypass – an inability to deal with the requirements of the day, like holding a job, being a reliable parent, a functional social unit, a skillful creator of your own life’s path. Hiding in a cave, in a commune, in books, in constant retreats, spiritual practice, one is unable and unwilling to deal with his/her undigested past experiences and isolates him/her self from the world around. Without one’s spirituality…one feels like nothing. Materiality is despised and considered wrong. But there’s a lot of drive to dwell in spirit. A person inspired and striving for spirit and spirit only, has his/her head in the clouds and the feet do not touch the ground.
What does it look like when the pendulum stops in the middle? It looks like integration. One is able to integrate both truths of human existence - the clay and the immortality. One is willing to mold him/her self into the most this mortal clay can offer supported by the immortality of his/her being. One is full of appreciation for the moment, realizing that matter is in a state of constant flux and no rose bud will ever be duplicated, no kiss will ever be the same sweetness and no moment of truth ever more truthful, while finding strength to watch it all pass with gratitude for the experience. Lost things, the passing of friends, the missed opportunities are both mourned and celebrated at the same time. One is both sitting in the comfort of Being and fully engrossed in Becoming. Not only is it possible to hold a job but it is fun to have one. Not only is it nice to study and meditate alone, but it is also easy to relate to people and share one’s heart and skills with all who can benefit without the usual selfish concerns.
An integrated person lives with lots of “and's” while a conflicted person lives with a lot of “either/or's.”
An integrated person creates reality without defining it. A conflicted person argues over what is real.
An integrated person is one who can walk with their feet on the ground and keep the head high in the clouds while fully embracing everything in between and enjoying the different perspectives deep into the heart.
Where the pendulum stops in the middle is where clay meets immortality – where consciousness, consciously potentiates and energy willingly manifests. It’s the only place where Reality can be seen and experienced for its realness. Everything else is bound to be an approximation by the very distance from the center. Any other place along the trajectory of the pendulum is bound to inherent suffering.
Being human has its advantages. One of them is that we can choose to know integration and the privilege to realize it.
Just saying, don’t pay lip service to things you've heard on either side of the center and don’t live your life relying on other people to tell you what is good/bad, what is right/wrong, and how you should be living your life. Listen to everything. Hear everyone, and see what jives in your heart. You can only be what you are ready to be, but you can never become more than you are unless you try to test your comfort zone.