Nonduality: Binary Thinking and Divine Dichotomies

For those who haven’t heard me mention it before, I’m a follower of nonduality. Being a nondualist means that I recognize that the binary way that we perceive existence (black and white, good and evil, this and that) are not just merely two sides of the same coin, but in many cases are what Neale Donald Walsch termed “divine dichotomies,” where two seemingly opposing things can both be true, simultaneously–or–they cancel each other out and neither are true (which is, itself, yet another divine dichotomy…).

For example, a universal Truth: either EVERYONE is special, or NO ONE is special. Both are simultaneously true, it’s merely a matter of which way you choose to look at it. This is a divine dichotomy.

If everyone is, in fact, special, then it literally means that by definition, no one is. This is another divine dichotomy.

We live in a world of duality that tells us everything is an either/or… but what if it’s a yes/and?

Having a shit load of Mercury influence in my astrology chart (including a Gemini Ascendant, Chiron, and North Node, a third house Moon and Mars, a Virgo Sun, and a sixth house Saturn, Jupiter, and Uranus), I have a knack for exploring and recognizing both (or many) sides of binary thinking and perceptions.

I saw an Instagram post a while back that was tackling toxic positivity and shaming of negative emotions that said, “Don’t look on the bright side. Don’t focus on the positive. Don’t see the good in everything. Don’t look at the silver lining.” etc. with the implication of “just be with where you are.” And then I saw another that argued there’s no need to “reframe” failure as an opportunity or learn something from it and instead, we can just be ok with failing. 

And I thought about it for a bit, and I thought, why not do both? Isn’t that the whole picture?

Why does acknowledging a shadow mean you can’t look at the silver lining? Why does seeing the good in everything mean you have to ignore the negative? Why does acknowledging a person’s awfulness mean that you can’t also acknowledge their inherent humanness? Why does sitting with our own emotions mean we can’t acknowledge those of the person who hurt us? It is, after all, a sign of emotional intelligence to recognize that other people have feelings, too. Even shitty people. Why do we think that we can only feel love OR hate? Why can’t we love someone AND hate them at the same time (I certainly have)?  Are our own feelings not complex enough to hold two seemingly opposing emotions simultaneously?

Why can’t we acknowledge how all-encompassing and complex our human experience is? Why do we have to oversimplify our experiences into one thing OR another? WHY CAN’T WE DO OR BE BOTH?!

This idea that we have the capacity to hold seemingly opposing perspectives and emotions simultaneously has been a theme that has come up for me several times in the last few months and I’ve noticed more and more how our world does not necessarily operate from that holistic point of view. I do, however, think that’s part and parcel to the spiritual journey to explore both ends of a spectrum until we eventually reach equilibrium. I know I have.

I think part of our goal in transcending the illusion of duality is to recognize how binary thinking shows up in our everyday life, begin to recognize when two things can be simultaneously true, and learn to expand our awareness and emotional capacity to encompass multiple perspectives and experiences.

Xo,

Ash

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