Everything in life can be viewed through the phenomenon of duality. In my meditation course, I teach about the ego and the spirit, the left brain and the right brain, the head and the heart. To experience joy and wellbeing we need to have a balance of both.
When we veer too far into one territory for too long, we lose balance and we cease to remain open and effective, thus limiting our experience. We may become increasingly judgmental of others who disagree with our ideas. And we deny ourselves the opportunity to expand our knowledge due to limited flexibility. Within each of us is a full range of emotions, attributes, dreams, gifts, and passions. By limiting the expression of these, we reduce our potential.
We all know instinctively which tendencies we have; whether we focus more on heart-based thoughts and motivations or on the rational mind.
I’m in a unique situation due to my work in a male-dominated industry that focuses on outward actions and rational thinking. At the same time, I have always been drawn to the spiritual path. This is like having membership in two tribes! Being a part of both has provided me with an unusual education.
I try to honor and appreciate each tribal aspect within myself and in the world.
Within the spiritual community, we find inspiration, a connection to a power greater than ourselves, and the joy of unfolding discoveries from studying holy texts and words from the enlightened. Compassion, nurturing, healing, and self-growth are highly valued. Individuals with right-dominant brains, those that are heart-centered with creative energy, are drawn to this tribe.
The left-dominant brain community is egocentric, rational and action-oriented. The energy of these individuals has a focus on the manifestation of ideas, progress and the dynamics of taking an invention and producing it for the masses. They excel with accomplishments in medicine, science, manufacturing, commerce, modernization, and lifestyle improvements.
When these energies get out of balance, we see people in the spiritual tribe failing to make a decent living and having a deficit of ideas and actions that would successfully provide them a sense of prosperity. Or, they may have a reluctance to move out of their comfort zone, preferring to seek joy in their reverence for the divine without balancing it with bold action.
On the other hand, some are so outwardly-oriented and action-based that they, too, are out of balance. They may be very successful financially but lack self-knowledge and a sense of who they are. Their continual outward focus robs them of deep inner insights, and the joy that rises from within.
Both extremes can cause health problems, stress-related illnesses, anxiety, unhappiness and a lack of purpose. We need to be integrated members of both tribes. A beautiful illustration of this by Kahlil Gibran can be found here: On Reason and Passion
What is disturbing now is the increasing gap between these two energies, or impulses. We see it everywhere, most obviously in the political climate.
Those of one viewpoint seem to only listen to others who hold the same opinions and judgments. This one-sidedness is fracturing the country into different hard lines and no one is listening. Coming together and listening with the heart and the head is a tall order, but necessary — and it all begins with us. We all want the same thing: a robust, vibrant, and growing economy and citizens that care for one another. As we integrate ourselves, bringing our shadow sides out into the open, honoring our own thoughts and those of others and being open to the validity of the opinions of others, we can begin a conversation that will put us on a healing path.
Like most of you, I have my own opinions and prejudices, but my intention is to try to remain open, listen to all opinions and learn more about transpartisanship* — to hear and speak with respect.
Let’s find balance.
*Mission: Change the divide and conquer political game by building trust, respect and communication among citizens and leaders.
© copyright 2011 Kasey Claytor