When the question is either/or, the answer is usually “yes.”
Which is good:
- Being present in the moment or holding onto a bigger context?
- A comfortable and easy present or creating accomplishments which offer pride and growth?
- Organic structures that reflect the way people work or imposed structures which allow for considered efficiency?
- Order that eliminates strife or conflict that exposes underlying flaws and strengths?
- Predictability that offers consistent results or chaos which sparks innovation and revelation?
- Cooperation that keeps everyone on the same page or competition that drives innovation and excellence?
- Integration of components which keep tight control or disintegration which empowers lean approaches and enhancement at a modular level?
Respecting dualities requires placing the value in the tension between forces and not in one end or the other. Strength comes not from one point or another but how those points provide balance between them. This or that, either/or has to be left behind to create a dynamic and vibrant shifting and growth.
Managing contradictory forces requires that we be clear about what we value. How else can we balance fundamental values with expedient values, balance staying true to long term dreams and commitments with the choices we have to make to get things done right now?
Making choices that respect the process of achieving balance, choices that wobble a bit, choices that help us adapt and grow while keeping hold of our core values, is tough. That’s why humans have learned to find balance in relationship, as friends, couples, families, teams, congregations, companies, bands, villages, tribes and nations. We barrack for our view of the world and what needs to happen while others share theirs, together holding a tension that keeps all of us accountable to each other.
I know my core values, the ground upon which I stand. I speak for connection, for love, for continuous common humanity that demands we each have personal responsibility to embrace diversity. It is only by knowing that what we share in common is fundamental that we can be rewarded with the creative surprises in the essential individuality of every person.
More than that, I know that only discipline can help me hold onto those values, help me embrace not just the sensation of the moment but the context of it too. Discipline is what allows me to stand between the dualities, looking not for someone to blame or a direction to run but rather for the miracle which can change my perception and bring me strength or serenity in that moment.
“Is this a strength moment or a serenity moment?” I learned to ask myself. Would trying to achieve what I desired stand a good chance of changing the situation, or would it just be pissing into the wind? Serenity moments abounded for me, times when I needed to learn a lesson, to have the miracle of changed perception. The wisdom I found was that people heal in their own way and in their own time, putting their own priorities first.
Following your bliss doesn’t mean indulging in a quest for sensation, bouncing back and forth in a quest to find what is “right” for you. Bliss comes in finding the rightness inside of this moment and making a choice which rewards and delights you.
The blissful choice may lead you to accomplishment or learning, it may give something valuable to someone else, or it may just feel harmonious with something larger than you, but it is a choice that helps you become bigger, moving outside of yourself.
Bliss is about saying yes to the world. Seeing the world as binary, as either/or, yes/no, black/white, good/bad leads you to fundamentalist, reactive views, knowing more about what you are against than what you are for. Trying to create separations and purge what we see as wrong leaves us struggling with critics and distress.
No choice will ever be perfect in a finite world. Every choice has a cost, every action has a reaction, every win requires loss. We can have it all, but we can’t have it all at once. Letting go of binaries is letting go of the quest for flawless, for perfection. It is acknowledging that the divine is never one or the other, it is a balance of all, always pulsing and shimmering, always alive.
Bliss is in the discipline of staying in the moment, riding the surfboard of life, knowing that for every cold, wet and painful moment, moments of achievement, beauty and transcendence will also come.
Bliss is not in indulgence. Bliss is in the discipline which lets is stay present, knowing every moment we get a little better, a little more centred, we accomplish the goal of getting a little closer to divine righteousness, always knowing that we will ever make it all the way there in this lifetime. Imperfection is guaranteed.
Living in the question rather than the answer is the only way to stay present. That question is at the heart of the human experience, coded deep into the tension that a defines the reality of a finite world. We struggle with dualities not to find the right answers but rather to find the right questions, the ones which will inform our choices and make them better.
Is the world this or is it that? Yes. Definitely, all of the above, yes.