Lately I’ve had this nagging drive to find the happiness and beauty in the darkness. I think I’ve experienced it, but is it really possible for such a dichotomy to coexist? Can we be depressed and elated at the same time (without blowing a fuse?) Might heaven and hell actually be the same place?
People talk a lot about the balancing act of nature. The sun comes up in one part of the world while it goes down in another. When a creature dies, another is born. While we damage our ecosystem, groups are mobilized to protect it. And the world continues to turn.
In my personal life, I feel torn between conflicting directions. I want to live natural and healthy but I also thrive on what some consider to be toxic technology. I want to be a mom but I also want to be an entrepreneur, a student, friend and dancer. I’d like to respect the religion and politics of all people, but my own doesn’t always find it easy to get along.
In order to coexist, must we compromise ourselves and our world? Should America’s Republicans and the Democrats make the right sacrifices so that everyone can be at peace? Should the world fight against the tipping point for sustainable biomass harvesting? Should the fighting husband and wife deny their imperfect souls in order to make the other person happy?
And just how hard should we try to remove the ugly from our lives?
Although it would appear that this is the way that life works, separating the righteous from the sinner is nothing more than basic Naziism 101, in my opinion. So-called cleansing might result in a moment of peace but that security is eventually threatened again by something else in the next chink of cause and effect.
I once heard a fascinating description of riding a bike. I guess I had always assumed that the rider must maintain a straight vertical line in order to stay on the bike but it’s actually another balancing act. While the bike is in motion, we are continually adjusting our weight from side to side. This is what maintains the equilibrium.
So, without a right as well as a left, life as we know it would not happen. This might also sum up the yin and yang philosophy, as well as the human anatomy’s ecosystem. Everything is necessary in a dual, multifarious world of good, evil and all of those things that can’t be hastily stuffed into a label.
This might explain why a heaven needs a hell and vice versa. They just wouldn’t make sense or hold meaning without the contrast. And it’s the same with proverbial mountains and valleys, sunshine and rain, ups and downs.
The problem, at least as I see it, is when we attempt to rid the world of what we perceive as the bad stuff, we’re in reality seeking to escape life itself. While Christians might do this with the doctrine of hell, anti-Christians could do the same with religion. Political bipartisan wars are no different. Although contradicting in one sense, both beliefs are paradoxically the same.
In a similar vein, heaven and hell, whatever definition we attribute to them, might express some very different characteristics but make up one thing called life. And discovering a balance among the whole scheme might be just like riding a bike.
The fundamentalist and segregationist within us is not going to like this idea very much. When I’m experiencing something painful, I don’t like that idea at all. I’d like to know that there will be a final end someday to the suffering. But I can be sure that, at least while my soul exists, life will eventually balance out that pain with joy.
Separation and unity. Diversity and conformity. Conservatives and liberals. Religion and the absence of religion. Men, women, gays, heteros, children, sages, blacks and whites. Somehow, we need it all. And I think it would be a good idea to appreciate it all for its specific, individual value.
But this isn’t compromise. It’s called aptitude. Acceptance. Appreciation. Respect. It’s called two whole people working together instead of two half people. While one thing destroys, another replenishes. Dynamic cultures rise through the light and the dark. It includes honoring the body as well as the soul, the pain as well as the ecstasy. Everything in its place and for its purpose works together, “good” and “bad,” to cause the world to turn…. and continue.
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