Overcoming Duality

I’ve been pondering this off and on for days. Mentally circling around it without actually landing on something concrete and useful, and that is generally a sign that I need to journal.

Strangely, in my faith journey, I have always had the gift of being able to accept the things that I don’t have to understand. I don’t understand the dual nature of Christ. But I don’t sit up at night worrying about it. I accept that it just is, and I don’t have to understand it. I accept that I don’t have to understand the trinity. Some people don’t feel “secure” in their faith unless they can lock down every little bit of doctrine and tie it up with a nice theological bow. That would not be me.

Which isn’t to say I’m fuzzy on all aspects of my faith. I just seem to have a good feel for what is essential, and what is not. I just have trouble transferring that attribute to the rest of my life. I have a difficult time separating the trivial from the essential in day-to-day living. If I stop and reflect on it a moment, I get clear, but I don’t often do that.

I read something truly interesting this morning that I hadn’t read before, in regards to emotional development. It said that an infant can’t reconcile that the same mother that provides care also withholds instant gratification. So she separates her in her mind into “good” mommy and “bad” mommy. Then later, she does the same with herself, splitting herself into “good” and “bad.” Adequate caregiving allows the child to reintegrate these dualities later, but if something goes wrong (and I’m sure it often does), they have difficulties their entire life with understanding that there can be both good and bad in the same person. It’s from this schizm that the dysfunctional pattern of “false” selves arises, which prompts the addictive cycle: the “good” self is the sum of the “good” roles the person plays when they are “in control” and the “bad” self is the sum of the “acting out” behaviors.

How much of my issues right now are reconciling dualities in my own life? Order and chaos is the first thing that springs to mind. Orthodoxy and innovation. Public and private self. Routine and freedom. Discipline and creativity. Introspective reflection and action. The individual and the universal. The urgent trivial and the essential that has no “deadline.” Utilizing your natural strengths and compensating for your natural weaknesses. They all seem like such EITHER/OR propositions.

It all comes down to balance. And I think balance can not be achieved by this binary thinking. I’m not a computer. I am more. Switching one thing on does not have to automatically switch its “opposite” off.

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