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September 16, 2010

One, Not Two. ~ Denise Cook

Instead of Being Right, Just Be.

Many years ago, one of my teachers gave me a sticker that simply had the number two with a line through it. She held it up to me and said, “Do you get it?”

I thought for a moment and replied, “There is no separation, and we are all one?”

She was so excited that I got it. She gave me a stack of those stickers and asked me to share them with my community. That was in 2005. I found that when I offered them to people their first reaction was completely different than what we intended. Most people thought the stickers were a protest against former President Bush’s two term presidency. The deeper meaning was lost in the anger and frustrations brewing at the time.

I’ve observed that, in expressing their beliefs and opinions, the media — bloggers, tweeters, and the like — incite more of the duality that is the human experience.

Yesterday I saw a bumper sticker that read, ” “I Am Everything That You Liberals Hate.” Above that was, “I Bet Those of You Who Voted for Obama are Feeling Pretty Stupid About Now.” I actually pulled over and wept. My emotions stemmed from many things, but at the core I was just so sad at the ever-increasing wedge between me and my fellow man.  I’ve made a choice to explore my creation and the divine essence that dwells in all of us. I’ve developed a business of Yoga instruction, not just for the physical asana practice, but for the possibility of serving people in such a way that someday our personal politics might shift, for our children’s sake.

The current predominance of dualistic thinking distracts us all from that light which sparked us all (if you believe that). It’s everywhere: fit or fat, black or white, Christian or Muslim… I see it all the time:  instead of just being, someone has to be right.

We’re all going to die?!  This is probably the one point that everyone agrees on. Why do we continue this behavior of right and wrong, good and bad? There’s a middle ground, and it’s just being. The great philosopher Lao Tzu wrote of this as did other great teachers: Jesus, Siddhartha, Moses, Muhammad, Mother Theresa and more.

I think of the symbol of the two with the line through it often when I find myself slipping into duality. Duality keeps us stuck in our limited beliefs: in order for one thing to be good, another thing must be bad. This is more obvious to me now, as I become more aware of how often it happens in my daily life (like when I’m driving down I-25) and how much the media use duality as propaganda.  The recent brouhaha over the building of a Mosque two blocks from Ground Zero has brought even more of this rage over duality in my face.

I’m not fearful, though. I have faith that one day we’ll be accepting of each other. When I find myself in conflict, beginning to mentally label people and their behaviors, I step back and ask, “Where have I been wrong?” I start by making a change, myself, instead of arrogantly expecting I can change others’ thoughts, lifestyles or belief systems. Now more than ever, it’s important to be the change, not just preach change.

Denise Cook is a mother, yoga teacher, and blogger in Denver. She studies esoteric spirituality and religions in her spare time. The teacher she referred to in the article was her first Ashtanga Asana teacher, Beryl Bender-Birch. For information on Denise’s classes and workshops, you may visit her website.

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