The World of Dualities
artwork by H. Kopp Delaney
“The truth is that unless we have something spiritually fulfilling on which to focus the mind, the mind will not stay controlled. Determination is rarely enough. The mind wants to taste. In its mundane form it relishes the material emotion evoked by the worlds dialogues.
When we think of pleasant things – our family or friends, for example – we feel the heart, the seat of the minds emotion, expand. When we think of unpleasant things – our enemies or a trauma – the heart contracts.
This expansion and contraction is actually the mind tasting emotion. We tend to think that the mind wished to taste only the sweetness of friendship or success, but it tastes negatively with equal vigor. Each side of a duality creates an opposite but equally powerful feeling. Because the mind wants to taste both poles, it will drag us from pleasure to pain and back again.
If we think we can focus only on positive emotion we are deluding ourselves. This is the relative world. Everything that creates positive emotion has its counterpart in the negative; there’s no meaning to “friend” without “enemy”. Traveling between dualities is how the mind keeps us engaged in materialism, forcing us to remain in the cycle of repeated birth and death. Although we want to taste the pleasure of friendship without tasting the pain of enmity, to taste the pleasure of success without the misery of failure, to taste love without hate, we are unable. Still, we become bound by desire and by our attachments to emotional experience. In this world every emotion can only be defined against its opposite. The mind can literally keep us engaged forever in the struggle between dualities …”