Someone recently wrote this (slightly shortened) message to me:
‘I feel that on occasion I should address the practical. For myself I wouldn’t feel right just posting on a “pure” spiritual message because it is easier to just say it, than to just do it. I still feel that some things are complicated. I only know this from the times that I thought I was being loving, caring, and understanding only to find out that I wasn’t.’
Spirituality is the most practical thing in the world. It has nothing to do with theories, which are of the mind: theories are the only thing your mind can give you… and gives you sometimes plenty of, but still leaves you in the lurch, unable to know which one of all those theories is true!…
It’s like being at sea, and trying to figure out how to go on, with just perhaps some map to rely on, but no compass. It is the Spirit within you which is the only Compass you can get, so only by getting in contact with you Inner Self do you get this badly needed Compass that will give you the right direction to follow at every moment. It is as simple as that, and, as you can see, it is real practicality at last!!!
I know what I am talking about, because I have the constant experience within myself of both the mental way of being, and the spiritual way of being, and I am just so glad and relieved that now for so many years I don’t have to rely on my mental theories any more, but can rely entirely, moment after moment, upon the direct knowledge I get from my soul: exactly like from a Compass!… What a relief! This is the kind of practicality that makes Spirituality so completely indispensable, and it’s high time all human beings come to know about it and start living it.’
Still he replied:
‘This may be why we have a consciousness that our only guiding light is inside. Our deviation from this consciousness is our error. I kind of consider this like loking within and looking without. Do we just sit on a mountaintop and “BE” or are we intacting with the world in a meaningful way?
In other ways I compare it to dualities. In science it’s “Is it a particle or a wave?” In Love is it a noun or a verb? The feeling of love is not loving.
Anyway we may have to have slightly different outlooks on this. I have found in my life that the more I think this is “IT” the farther I am from really knowing’.
So I only added this:
‘I just want to clarify one thing, though:
Perhaps the fact that I live on the seaside gives the impression that there, one can just ‘Be’. It is not so at all. Life anywhere in Auroville is a far cry from the proverbial life on a mountaintop. We are right in the middle of all the problems of the world, precisely to be ‘impacting the world in a meaningful way’, as you say. It is the traditional ways of yoga that require solitude, away in ashrams or monasteries. Yoga as we live it is lived amidst all the activities and difficulties of ordinary life. It is what I compared with being at sea – just as an image.’
I have chosen this as the topic for this new post of mine, first of all for other readers to also realize, if they hadn’t before, that life in Auroville isn’t the bed of roses it may seem to be from afar. Secondly, for addressing more in depth the very true questioning of that person, and what he said (quoted above last) about the dualities that are there in this world.
It so happens that I have been writing something which is exactly related to this question of the ‘Dualities’, and which I think is nowadays very essential to understand, so here is the relevant part of my write-up… which starts with a bit of scientific history:
At the dawn of the nineteenth century, in 1801, there has been the extraordinarily important experiment of British scientist Thomas Young, known as ‘The double-slit experiment.’
It was about the TRUE NATURE OF PHOTONS:
The question, that divided scientists since long, was:
Are photons PARTICLES? Or are photons WAVES?
The answer, eagerly awaited by both camps, was categorical – and stunning:
Yes, Particles AND Waves at the same time!!!
Such a thing was thought impossible: the scientific mind imagined everything to function only according to the ‘EITHER… OR’ model which is the way the Mind normally functions: up or down, black or white, yes or no… the Binary principle.
This totally unexpected answer showed that Nature – the real way things function – doesn’t care about our mental way of theorizing about it: Nature doesn’t follow the ‘EITHER this, OR that’ model, but a ‘This, AND that’ model usually not even considered possible by our mind.
This stunning conclusion of the Young Experiment has extremely vast implications, as it applies actually to everything there is in our Physical Universe: as said in the Wikipedia article, ‘The double slit experiment can also be performed (using a different apparatus) with particles of matter such as electrons with the same results, demonstrating that light and matter have both particle-like and wave-like properties (wave–particle duality)’.
Matter itself being BOTH Particle and Wave, our own physical bodies belong to BOTH the Particle world and the Wave world. The entire Physical Universe is BOTH a Particle World and a Wave World at the same time.
The Particle way of being gives to everything its separate unique identity, its apparent solidity, its relative permanence, its momentary place in our specific space-time bubble.
The Wave way of being gives to everything its instantaneous connection with everything else, its identity with the Whole and with that Whole’s absolute Beingness, eternity and infinity, and insecable (indivisible) Oneness.
The Particle way of being in ourselves gives us our reality as part of Matter, of the Physical Universe, while we are embodied here.
The Wave way of being gives us our reality as Spirit, as an aspect of the eternal One Spirit that is behind and within All There Is.
I am no scientist by formation or profession, I only study Science by irresistible personal interest, so I hope I will be forgiven any inaccuracy, as all of the above is only my very amateurish rendition of what real scientists could write much better about.
The way I would put it, this experiment by Thomas Young has marked the beginning of a radical change in how the human Scientific Mind functioned until then: from the normal binary ‘either… or’, characteristic mental way of functioning, to a sudden obligation for the mind of the scientists to make a sort of ‘grand écart’ and learn to perceive simply as two aspects of a same oneness what their mind previously perceived only as two separate and antagonistic principles.
And this is the answer to my interlocutor’s point: the very basis for all that we considered since ever as ‘Dualities’, is nowadays disappearing.
There is a growing realization that Opposites are not really irreconcilable Contraries as our mind made us believe, but Complementaries meant to be seen as one… but with the two elements still present, within all the possible infinite variations in the proportion of each element, that can exist in this infinite number of possible combinations of the two.
It’s like Yin Yang in Tao: Tao isn’t something fixed but constantly variable and varying in its combination of Yin and of Yang.
Tao is the Whole, the Oneness that contains all the opposites.
And yet, the Whole is more than the sum of its parts.
In other areas of Contemporary Science too, there is the same discovery of Oneness as the very nature of everything:
Holograms, in Maths ‘la Théorie des Ensembles’, Ecology …
What happened in the scientific world was a most striking sign of the same radical change starting to happen in all the other spheres of Humanity’s Collective Mind too:
In every field of human life, there is the same gradual but irresistible shift from a separatist, exclusive-truth, duality-based approach, to a new outlook that sees what unites rather than what divides, what is in common rather than what is different….
What we see happening in our midst is actually a new step in terrestrial evolution: we are coming out of the rule of the Mental Consciousness, to enter into the much more luminous, higher influence of what Sri Aurobindo and the Mother called the Supramental (= beyond the Mind) Consciousness, which the Indian Rishis of the Vedic times, millennia ago, characterized already most beautifully as ‘Satyam, Ritam, Brihat’: ‘The True, the Right, the Vast’.
The contact those Rishis had had with those highest spheres of Consciousness was lost and forgotten in more recent times of intensified Mind-Power rule in terrestrial evolution. The spiritual realms reached later on, in post-vedic times, were not as high, and had no power to transform Matter. So Spirituality, in the West just as in the East, turned away from a material world and material bodies that Spirit seemed incapable of redeeming. It became a Spirituality of evasion from physicality back to higher dimensions more blissful and less challenging for the Spirit than this enigmatic, apparently illusory, absurd and useless Material World.
But as the huge evolutive process that has been going on here for eons quietly went on, that forgotten Supramental Consciousness is now right here the energy that has at last been activated in the atmosphere and very substance of this little planet Earth. With that new vibrational influence taking the lead upon Earth, a new step in the planet’s evolution is starting to take place.
This is why efforts at Human Unity as a collective ideal have been scarce until this last two centuries, but are now progressing faster: the Human Rights; the Feminist Movement; among the Christian Religions, Oecumenism; in 1957, the international photographic exhibition ‘The Family of Man’; the ‘One Earth’ movement; ‘Make love, not war’ and the Flower Power; and May Spring in Paris 68… just after the Auroville project was officially founded on February 28th, 1968, for Humanity as a whole.
We human beings start seeing everything as the same as Puzzles are: each piece is unique, and has a place of its own; only when you have all the pieces, and all in their own correct places, does it become a whole, and make sense: only by seeing the whole, can one understand at last what all those pieces were for.
In the same way, an individual is unique as an individual, and yet because precisely of his or her unique talents, finds his place and full use as a Player in a Sports Team, or a Musician in an Orchestra… just like any organ does in any organism too.
But there is yet a powerful struggle going on within our beings between the remaining still very strong influence of the Mental way, and the increasingly growing inflience of the new, truer way of perceiving everything and of dealing with it. People with a predominant tendancy to use primarily their mind, don’t find it easy to let go of the ‘Either… Or’ approach to everything, still so natural to them. Nevertheless, they must at least become aware that this mental way of perceiving things isn’t the absolute truth it was once believed to be.
So, how about reeducating ourselves? How about learning to use also sometimes, and more and more, the non-analytical side of our brain? Not that the half which in the West was almost exclusively used in recent millennia must be now abandoned, but simply that it may learn to work together with the other lobe, giving us at last a – literally – more balanced understanding of everything.
What will happen then?… Our map will change!… From the fragmentary, inaccurate and too contrasted idea of things that we have now, it will become the ‘true and vast’ map we need when we are out on the sea of Life… and then also will that wonderful Inner Compass that I described at the beginning, become of full use for us all who will have learned to find it and activate it in ourselves.
Knowing that this is the direction we are going, may help us to focus on those goals and make them happen faster in our lives…