On a recent flight to Dallas, there was some turbulence in the air. It was a super cloudy day, and the captain kept the seatbelt sign on the entire flight. Usually, I’m not a huge fan of sitting in the window seat. I feel stuck and uncomfortable, unless of course the next 2 seats next to are open. However, this time around, I was blessed with spectacular views of really amazing clouds. They were of all shapes and sized, even one that looked like a man worshipping facing the moon.
I began thinking of the nature of clouds. They are such a dualistic thing, and as humans we derive both pleasure and pain from them. On a hot and sunny day, the presence of clouds brings a pleasant shade and possible breeze. On the other extreme of the spectrum, they can bring turmoil and pain when they shed their water droplets and cause destruction.
The nature of this world is really interesting. This concept of duality has become even more clear to me recently more than ever. Where there is a positive, there has to be a negative to complete the whole. It’s the same concept of yin and yang. There has to be opposites, wherein lies the idea of duality. I was reading a book on ahimsa the other day, and there was a statement that really struck me. It was went along the lines of even a merciful saint has a little bit of cruelty in him to complete that 100%.
I was really struck by this statement, because it really made me realize that this world that we live in, the nature of us human beings and everything that surrounds us, the way we react, the way all these things play out, there is no equanimity. The possibility of equanimity is there, and there are many (although few) people/creatures/beings that have mastered this skill to the point where they are beyond the duality of this world and of this universe.
It takes a lot to go beyond dvait (duality) to advait (non-duality). I can’t be sure I completely even understand either concept, but the idea of advait makes more and more sense. Because of our egos, we have separated ourselves from everything else that is not me. We’ve created a duality for sure. Our pure soul, our true self, our real, inherent nature is seeking to go back to the state of advait, back to the whole. Here comes the idea of moksha, nirvana, liberation, whatever you want to call it.
Liberation is to go back to the state of advait where you’re not different from anything else. In a book by Rabindranath Tagore, he states that the way to be in this state of whole is to see yourself in every other thing that is of this planet, whether it be your neighbor, a tiger in the zoo, or even a rock in the park. We have to figure out how to go past the state of duality, which consists of letting go of our ego.
Alas, all these things are easier said than done. Fortunately there are many tools to help you remain in a state of equanimity and help you look past the duality of this world. Seek and you shall find.
Let me find my way back.