Whether you subscribe to the belief or not, can any of us really deny that duality exists?
Vedanta, a fundamental part of my yoga training, asserts that non-duality is the nature of our existence, that self, Brahma, the whole are really one in the same with our little individual selves. The rest is just an illusion, or Maya. Yet there are so many pairs of seeming opposites that occur in nature, within our very beings and within our human experience.
We speak of our higher self, which is to say the more enlightened, wise, soul-driven aspect of our being, as opposed to our lower self, the less learned, less mature, ego-driven facet. There is light and dark, both in the literal sense thanks to the earth’s orbit, and in the figurative sense referring to the happy times in life as opposed to the sad ones.
There are highs and lows, moments or perhaps days, weeks, years where things are really just going smoothly, blessings seem abundant and nothing can bring you down, until of course something does and suddenly your bogged down in the low, struggling to even remember the high times.
Like anyone who happened to stumble across this page, I’ve lived through highs and lows, light and dark and times of operating from both my higher self as well as my lower self. It’s called life. We’re all doing it. And sometimes what the higher self feels or knows comes into direct conflict with what the lower self wants. Sometimes the gifts bestowed in times of light overshadow the gifts that come in times of dark, simply because they are wrapped in prettier paper. What I believe it all boils down to is embracing both sides equally, facing them honestly and using the sum of the sometimes disparate parts to enjoy and experience life fully.
Okay, so this started off on a highly esoteric, slightly abstract note. Bringing it back to the “real world” lately I’ve found myself battling against my own duality, specifically how it plays into my love life.
My soul loved C’s soul from the moment we met. As we are both believers in such things, we readily embraced the notion that this is because our souls have journeyed together across many lifetimes. We are familiar to each other at that level. I’ve had more than one intuitive practitioner who I trust support this belief, each adding a new insight into our past life history and how that might contribute to this present incarnation. But beyond what anyone says, it’s just something I feel at my core level, and I trust my instinct, so I’ve gone with it.
The thing is what our souls know to be true does not necessarily correlate directly to what our lower, more earthly selves know. The latter is steeped in the experiences, beliefs, dramas, standards, expectations, etc. of this particular lifetime. Whatever baggage we’ve amassed along the way, we’re bringing it with us into every connection we make. So you can end up loving someone so deeply, feeling drawn to them in a way that is beyond your control, and yet you find yourself wanting to ring their neck at times out of sheer frustration because they just don’t get it! Or maybe you just don’t get it! Or maybe one or both just can’t express it! We could go on and on.
In love, if you cannot deem the sum of the parts totally lovable, and reach a state of peaceful agreement with your beloved that there are ways in which you differ and disagree, you’re doomed. It is that simple.
We all come with self and self, light and dark, high and low. We all come with baggage. We are multi-dimensional and when we partner up, we usually do it with someone who has many dimensions that fit with our own, but it is impossible to find someone who fits them all.
Why? Because the only way to do that is to be a complete narcissist and be in love with yourself!
Even if you have tons in common with your lover, same upbringing, same world views, same interests, you are not the same person and so you will always have something that is uniquely, differently and solely you to contribute to every equation. Grasping this in theory is one thing. Making it work in practice is another. So often we find ourselves in power struggles, pushing and pulling to bring lover and beloved into total alignment rather than being okay with some asymmetry in our relationship.
It’s called life. We’re all doing it. But there can come a point where we stop, not living, but struggling. There can come a point where we accept what is, embrace the sum of the parts and find balance even in occasional imbalance. This is what I am striving for, and I hope that by sharing what I’m experiencing you will reflect on ways to do the same.
Wishing you peace, love and fulfillment, friends.
Editor: Hayley Samuelson.
Jessica Avila is the founder of Ocean Om standup paddle yoga, as well as a Sivananda and vinyasa yoga instructor in Fort Lauderdale, FL. For her writing, like yoga, is a practice in spirituality, self-discovery and self-healing. Reach her at [email protected] and visit www.oceanom.com for more on yoga orjessavila.blogspot.com for more on what she has to say.