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Sunday, August 04, 2019

Black & White, Yin & Yang

Being brought up Christian as I was, I learned to believe in absolutes. What the Bible ( our English translation ( ? ) of the Hebrew &' Greek ( Aramaic? ) Scriptures ) has to say about 'God ( the Father ), Jesus ( the Son ) & the Holy Spirit ( ? )' was one such absolute; in fact, one might say it is THE Absolute; it is irrefutable, we were taught! Don't get me wrong; there ARE absolutes, but those absolutes ( or Absolutes ) aren't necessarily what we think they are. One can have all the faith in the world, 'faith to move mountains', even, but that doesn't make it so; to paraphrase the Bible, 'Even the Muslims believe..........' ( but they're wrong, right??? ) The Absolute Truth is that the One who 'hung the stars', etc cannot be confined to the description of any human being, whether he or she claims to be inspired by the Jewish/Christian God, the Muslim God, or any other personified 'God' on the horizon!

'Embrace your darkness': repeat these words to most Christians & you'll most likely meet with a brick wall! 'Darkness', you might hear, 'is ( necessarily ) a bad thing, because the Bible says that we are to avoid the darkness & walk in the light'. They might quote Isaiah the prophet ( from the Old Testament-Isaiah 50:10 ), 'Who among you fears the Lord? Who obeys the voice of His Servant?
Who walks in darkness and has no light? Let him trust in the name of the Lord a
nd rely upon his God.' More likely though, you'll hear any one of numerous quotes from the New Testament, like 'But if one walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.', from the Gospel according to John ( John 11:10 ), or even the apostle Paul, in Ephesians 5:8, where he wrote, 'For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.' It should be noted here though, in fact, in all the above quotations, that though there is definitely some discernible Universal Truth herein, one must understand the context of these warnings. The 'darkness' ( Hebrew chashekah & Greek skotia  ) of which they wrote was metaphorical; not the absence of ( physical ) light, but the blindness & ignorance which enveloped the Hebrew people, later known as the Jews.

In all of life, there must be balance! For example, when one is down ( in the 'dumps' ), if that one is willing to see anyway, there is ALWAYS someone to lift them up ( out of the 'dumps' ). A plant grows best with the perfect balance of water ( nutrition ) & light ( yes, plants thrive with a necessary period of darkness as well-even plants need their rest ), Humanly speaking, one must learn to accept both sides of their nature ( EVERYONE has a 'dark side' )  before one can truly love his or her Self. Of course, if one doesn't love themselves, they have trouble loving others in balance & there is where many people get into trouble! Balance helps us to cope with many things in life; for instance, even positivity can get to be overwhelming at times. On the other hand, pure negativity tends to bring EVERYONE 'down'! Too many positive ions in the air have a negative influence on our physical bodies, but when we balance those positive ions with negative ones, we might find that it positively affects our negativity & so on & so forth!

The balance of which I write herein, though, in more of a metaphysical sense, is the balance within ourselves. All human beings bear within themselves the X & Y chromosomes. In fact, you might have heard that all fetuses, up to a certain point, are female. At what point one or the other chromosome wins out ( overcomes? ), even the best doctors cannot be sure, or even why! Call it 'Karma', call It 'the Almighty'; whatever name you give It, some babies are born female, while others are born male. Then again, there are some ( fairly rare ) that seem to be both ( androgynous? ). Also, how do we explain those, whether they remain in 'the closet' or not, who have a predilection ( seemingly 'against nature' ) for the same sex? ( I must admit here, that I was one of those who condemned such as 'perverts' & worse! ) Metaphysically speaking though, the necessary balance should be noted between that of our human nature & our spiritual nature. We are Spirit Beings, but we are also Human Beings. Unless & until we divine a way to balance our two-fold nature, we again, will find ourselves up to our ears in hot water!

In some sense, one might note, the spiritual side of our nature ( this should resonate with Christians, as well as certain other religious peoples ) is the Light side, while the human side could well be designated the Dark side. I have previously noted that this equation could be called, 'the Divine/Mundane'. Balancing the Divine with the Mundane within themselves is one of the most difficult ( yet simplest ) tasks that you can assign to a human being! Yet it is only through recognizing the Divine within the Mundane ( Heaven on Earth? ) that we can truly love ourselves & thus, our neighbor! There are many different ( religiously speaking ) ways of looking at this, but whether one perceives that they must look within or without, the end result is the rectification of the two. As human beings, we must recognize the Divinity ( our Spiritual Self ) within the Mundane ( our human (biological ) Self ) in order to share ourselves with a righteous balance. In all reality, It goes much deeper than this, deeper even than mere words can express, although some have done admirably well in the attempt.

 'To err is human, to forgive, divine': this quote from Alexander Pope conveys well the notion that it is not in our human nature to forgive others. However, through the Divinity Within us ( again whether one perceives it to be 'within' or 'without'; 'it is what it is' ) we are able to forgive those that sin ( transgress ) against us. Balancing our true nature helps us to empathize with others, again, humanly speaking, who have not been able to rectify their two-fold nature. Even though we err still, we can even forgive ourselves, being Human & Divine, recognizing that human beings, having to do with other human beings, will always clash, or make mistakes, but when we do, the Divinity Within goes beyond our humanity & forgives any perceived wrong. On a sad note, not all, indeed relatively few, truly recognize this glorious fact, but that is neither here nor there, in regards to this post!

Just as two horses, correctly balanced of course, in a yoke, pull better than a single horse, so life works better when faced with both our Divine & Mundane natures! My mother used to say, 'they're so heavenly-minded, they're of no earthly good'; the point being that some people are so intent on gaining what they perceive as 'Heaven' ( whatever that may be to them ) that they tend to lose sight of the day-to-day of life here on Earth. Balancing the two, however ( not that I believe in 'Heaven' as 'the Afterlife' ), helps us, both to live this life in a pleasant manner, as well as to make any 'Afterlife' even more glorious! 'The Afterlife', not being the focus of this blogger, however, let us not stray from the subject................

'As above, so below'; the Hebrew way of life was far different from ours, though one might note many striking similarities between our Western way of life ( culture? ) & what we can divine from our interpretation of a piece of Ancient Near Eastern literature ( AKA the Bible )! This is not to say, as many mistakenly ( gravely so, in fact ) have, that we here in the West ( British America? ) are the new Israel. This similarity should be noted only as far as the many Universal Truths of both the Hebrew & Greek Scriptures point to our human nature; on the other hand, though, these same Scriptures speak as well of our Divine nature!

The One Absolute Truth we can rely on ( absolutely ) is that we are, in our inmost Being, Divine! The Divine doesn't always manifest, in fact, in some cases it seems never to reveal itself, although, in many cases, one can see evidence of Its Presence, even in the darkest of places. I say 'Its Presence' because while most religions perceive this Divinity ( mostly 'without' ) differently, this Presence is neither male nor female, though, humanly speaking, we might perceive It as both, a Perfect Balance of the two; 'Yin & Yang', you might say!

In life, it may be noted, there ARE many gray areas, in fact, life is one BIG gray area, though, in reality, it IS truly black & white ( 'It is what It is' )! The Bible may say this or that & you may believe that it is the 'end-all' ( 'The Alpha & Omega' ), but this other person over here believes that their preferred 'Bible' reveals the Absolute; who's to say whether one is correct over the other? 'Oh, the Bible says that it is correct ( internal evidence? )!'? 'Well, how many other 'Bibles' point to the same 'truth?' How many different people believe differently about what is absolute? Are we all wrong? Are we all right? What is wrong? What is right? To simply know ( understand ) that 'it is what it is'-some might even say there IS no wrong or right ) makes life a whole lot easier.

Stress begins to disappear when we realize that life holds many shades of gray. Trying to separate the black & white, the yin & yang, in a manner of speaking is what so often gets us 'down', putting us in one ditch or the other. Let's just hold our course, avoiding both metaphorical ditches, as we travel down this road we call 'Life', knowing that 'it is what it is' & not what we, or any others believe it is!

Charles Haddon Shank


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