By Mary Summerbell
Historically, much of humanity’s behavior has been like that of an animal caught in a trap, gnawing off its foot or paw to escape the jaws of death. It survives – limping along ever after. Adapting, but never again whole. Unable to attain the full expression of its true nature. Except that we, unlike the hapless animal, have set our own traps – foolishly creating our own demise.
If biblical stories are believable, even if only metaphorically, then brother has been killing brother since the first siblings. The folks had their issues, too, what with eating the fruit of the tree of good and evil, and getting kicked out of paradise. Stories of Original Sin and the Original Dysfunctional Family give, if not empirical, then certainly legendary evidence that the human race has a strong genetic predisposition for self-destruction. Or at least a mythical psychological tendency toward self-sabotage.
Why is this? If we have indeed evolved with self-limiting DNA we must, logically, be even more hardwired to compensate, to overcome these limitations. Without some saving grace we would have self-destructed long ago. My theory is that we are trapped in illusions of our own thinking. Faulty perceptions, based on our basic brain structure, keep us from the full and natural expression of our true humanity.
For whatever reasons, we evolved with a brain that has two halves, two hemispheres, separate yet connected. We are left-brain/right-brain creatures. And self aware. From our understanding of our own brain structure we can relate form to function in many ways; we now know which specific parts of our brains regulate which particular behaviors.
Left-brain/right-brain lingo is common vocabulary, verbiage that permeates our social and educational perspectives and institutions. The undeniable biological duality of our brains is a widely accepted concept, suffused into our daily lives, as left brain activity is linked to logic, reason and abstract thinking, and right brain activity to creativity, intuition and concrete application of ideas. Seeing left brain characteristics as masculine, and right brain characteristics as feminine, we bring male/female duality to our brain duality. We also bring masculine and feminine qualities to yet another duality of human nature – mind and heart. Many perspectives, many interpretations come into consideration in pondering the complexity of our human nature. Left/right, male/female, mind/heart, reason/ emotion, thought/feeling are but a few of the layers, aspects, dimensions of many dualities coexisting in us, interacting in every human expression.
So what’s the problem? All this duality sounds like one of Nature’s best answers to survival of life on Earth. It is. The catch is that duality so easily becomes polarity. Especially in expression of extremes. The trap we humans too often fall into is a disconnection of the balancing aspects of our brains and our nature. We seem inclined to see everything as mutually exclusive sides of something. As either/or. Yours or mine. Win or lose. Good or bad. Up or down. In or out. Masculine or feminine. Thought or emotion. We make of life a coin toss, to see how it lands, the outcome being that we favor the side we can see to the exclusion of the hidden side – to the loss of All.
Part of limited duality mentality is fear of lack. There’s either enough for me, or there’s enough for you. So we must fight each other for survival. These are the ancient seed-thoughts of people-made disasters of historic proportions. War. Violence. Slavery. Greed. Even much of disease. We make most of our own misery, through our divided mind frame. Then we pray to our God, or gods, to save us, to make it better, as if we have no choice or control of our own destiny.
Life is no coin toss. It is a multidimensional, infinitely faceted wonder that we, by some miracle of creation, get to experience a teeny, tiny bit of in our time on earth. Why waste this opportunity? How much longer can we continue to waste precious resources in battles over a world we can so easily share?
The answer is, we can’t. Not any more. Ever. The plain fact is we have come to a turning point in our evolution. For human life, for all life to be indefinitely sustained on this planet, we can no longer use the earth to destroy the earth and ourselves. For the first time in history peaceful coexistence is not a luxury, but a necessity. Our survival, and any hope of thriving, depends on us caring enough about ourselves and our planet to stop our own insanity, to finally see that it just makes sense to get along with each other.
Now is the time. 2012 is the year to shift into a new, wholistic, global sharing mode. Not by denying, rejecting, or trying to eliminate natural dualities or individual differences, which would mean ultimate annihilation. But by choosing to accept our dual nature and our individuality. More than that; we can embrace both our duality and our diversity. We can strengthen the connections, the communication, between the sides of our brains, between head and heart, so they work better together. We can strengthen our connections to all life by seeing ourselves in every part of life.
Being divided, as it is, the human brain is designed to gain information by comparative analysis. It is our nature to learn by constantly comparing and contrasting similarities and differences. It is not our nature to judge; we are born innately curious about all things.
Original sin was going against our own nature, deciding to judge everything, everyone, as good or evil. This has been our damnation. In trying to separate good and evil we lost our wholeness and our connection to All that is One. Bringing our innocence back to our experience of Life we reunite all aspects of our selves. As we learn to examine and evaluate all life without judgment, there is simultaneous acceptance of self and others. There is Love. Peace. Harmony.
We can create a planet where all are free, and safe, and life’s needs are met. Our salvation is in accepting All as One. Not in a lofty, theoretical, abstract sense, but in experiencing direct, continuous connection. But what does this look like?
The best example I can give you is to share with you one of my all-time favorite stories.
There was a boy who loved learning. One winter morning, as usual, he was early – first to arrive at school, in his wheelchair, in the freshly fallen snow. The only other person there was the maintenance man, hard at work, shoveling snow off the stairs. The boy, eagerly waiting, asked him politely to, “Please, shovel the ramp.” The man, cranky and cold, sternly told the boy that he would clear the ramp only after he finished the steps so “all the other kids” could get in. To which the boy replied,” But if you shovel the ramp, we can all get in.”
With shocking simplicity we see in this story that individual needs and group needs can be beautifully, mutually inclusive. Clear, easy answers come of a sincere, caring attitude. “Imagination serves an open heart.” And there is a fundamental, fascinating freshness to rethinking existing resources in light of optimum benefit for all. So often great solutions don’t take more time or resources, but less, with happier and more productive results.
I offer another story I heard long ago, as further evidence of happy collaboration: A man, recently deceased, was found by God to be worthy of entering heaven. As an angel came to take him there, he made a curious request. He said that, happy as he was over his final destination, he had always wondered what hell looked like. Was it possible for him to see it before he went to his eternal home? With a nod from God, without a word, his guide turned and brought the man to a huge building. Inside was a magnificent banquet hall, with long tables all laden with every fresh, tempting, tasty food imaginable. There were plush, comfortable chairs, colorful flowers and dishes and linens, fancy chandeliers and candelabra shining brightly. Soothing music softly played. Everything was perfectly luxurious. The man was confused. Surely he was in heaven already, his request to visit hell silently denied.
Then people came, exquisitely dressed and groomed, but strangely grey and emaciated – in spite of their finery obviously on the edge of starvation. Explanation came as the man was shocked to see that everyone’s arms were bizarrely bound straight at their sides. Unable to bend their elbows, they could not feed themselves. Eating was true torture – a messy agony of great straining to get the barest nourishment from the lavish feast. In anguish, the man turned away, unable to watch the wretched efforts any longer.
He was taken to another place, surprisingly identical to the first. The hall, all the food and finery exactly as before. Except that, this time, as the people arrived, they were lively and happy and obviously well fed, in spite of the same strange binding of their arms. Puzzled, he wondered, “How can this be?” The man soon had his answer. As the people began to eat, he watched in awe, amazed at what he saw. The people sat, face to face, raising their stiffly wrapped arms across their plates to neatly and easily feed each other.
This is our New Age challenge – to shift from selfish, senseless competition to a practical, pragmatic paradigm of peaceful harmony in community. This may seem an impossible ideal. But it isn’t a Pollyanna fantasy or just empty alliteration. This is an attainable reality. If we want it to be. The magic of this story, and the story of humanity, is in the transformation of elements through intention to greater purpose.
The whole is more than the sum of its parts. Especially when the “somes” of the whole consciously come together with mutual intention of a greater whole. Simplified into a bumper sticker slogan we can hang on our fridges, “When every one does better, everyone does better.”
Yes. We can choose. That is the power of being human. Choosing to move away from rigid, absolute thinking, with extremes meeting in destructive conflict, we can shift into flexible, open-minded thinking, with versatile qualities moving in creative collaboration. Complimentary opposition. Like a man and a woman dancing. Both whole and beautiful as individuals and gracefully able to move together as a new whole, keeping their equilibrium even as they change tempo, direction and mood. The beauty of the dance is continuous, fluid change, in smooth movement of transition in unison. This connection, this union, takes nothing away from either partner. In fact, in mutual support and co-ordination, they expand and enhance each others attributes and talents. They balance each other.
We can do that. Feed each other. Love each other. Work together for a better world. After all, our needs are all the same. I believe what’s destined to happen in 2012 is that the energy of peace will reach critical mass on this planet. It’s not about a majority, but the essence of our being changing. From fear to love, from conflict to collaboration, from survival to thriving. It will not be, literally, the end of time, or the end of the world, but certainly the end of the world as we have known it.
Like Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol,” humanity needs a change of heart and a change of mind, bringing love and reason together in intelligent compassion. The key to unlocking the trap of our human duality, paradoxically, is in our duality! We can bend that trap into a heart, where we can plant thought-seeds of a new humanity, a fully functioning human family growing in a New Age garden. Not of Eden’s perfection. But paradise found in a perpetual, imperfect process of united effort toward universal goals.
And isn’t the numerology of 2012 just right? The number two represent duality, partnership, choices, balance. Two of them stand, one on each side of a zero and a one. Zero being a circle, sign of eternity, with no beginning and no end. Circle, sign of the duality of all and nothing. The Universe and the Void. Darkness and Light. Sun and moon. Zero can also be seen as an oval, an egg, which is a seed, a beginning, potential for New Life. One also means beginning, the first step in any new venture. Number one represents both One and one – the whole and the individual.
So we have, in 2012, dualities within dualities, not in symmetry, but in balance. In 2012 we start a new way of marking time by the measure of greatest value. In 2012 we move from A.D. – Absolute Duality, into B. D. – Balanced Duality.