What is Duality? The Doorway to All Truths
The Duality…everyone has their own perspective about what this term means and why it’s even relevant. This in itself is a form of ‘duality’ because it is indeed ALL about one’s interpretation of any situation. Sages have offered enlightenment into the realm of duality with the saying…
“Your truth is truth, my truth is truth, but your truth is not necessarily my truth.”
Understanding and being aware of duality is vital to our human experience, as it allows us to see things from ‘both sides of the coin’ and better understand ourselves and others amid the collective. Most individual’s version of ‘truth’ culminates according to their past and current experiences, social conventions, and worldly views. To put it simply, duality is the nature in which everything holds opposing truths — all of which are true — at least in a relative sense.
Relative Truths, Absolute Truths and Duality
Relative Truths: A relative truth can only be TRUE at one place and time. That ‘truth’ may currently exist for some while it means nothing to others. It may have been true at one time, yet it may never be true again in the future. The tricky thing about truth, is that it beckons for change and is wholly subjective to one’s perspective AT THE CURRENT TIME! For example, as children we perceive Earth as a gigantic place, yet as we get older we begin to understand that our planet is merely a fleck of cosmic dust amid the infinite space of the universe.
Absolute Truths: These are true at all times and places, and they are discovered or revealed to be absolute truths rather than being invented or constructed by religion, culture, etc. For example, humans need oxygen/air to breathe as well as food and water for survival. Gravity works everywhere on the planet, and you can’t be asleep and awake at the same time. You get the idea — cold, hard proven facts that never change.
The ability to determine whether a truth is relative or absolute allows us to see that duality revolves around relative concepts and are opportunities to see from multiple perspectives for personal and spiritual growth.
Why Duality Can Entrap Us
So how do we come to determine what our particular version of ‘truth’ is? Is it conformity, religion, experience, or something entirely different all together? Can we avoid becoming trapped in the duality, or must we accept it as a part of the human journey?
It’s purported that three independent layers generate our current experiences and perceptions:
Layer 1: The conscious mind that perceives and experiences.
Layer 2: The body and brain that produces and holds our consciousness, allowing us to sense physical experiences and external stimuli.
Layer 3: Everything else in the universe.
It is purported that Layer 2 — the physical body — often prohibits experiencing the third layer, where we directly understand and perceive the infinite nature of the universe…a place far beyond the constraints of ‘duality.’ It’s the ability to comprehend this conceptual thinking that allows us to conquer constraints that duality can source — when we allow it to.
Examples of Duality We Encounter
Consider this case: A man’s home is burglarized and he is injured while defending his home. One neighbor may say, “Gosh, that’s just terrible.” Meanwhile a family living next door with two teenage daughters know that the man is a registered sex offender, so they say, “It couldn’t have happened to a more deserving person.”
The takeaway: The observer’s statements are examples of relative truths, as they indeed are the opinions of the speakers. However, the only absolute truth is that the man’s home was burglarized.
Another scenario: A loved one passes away. Many friends and family may believe the individual’s life was priceless, while others may find their death a blessing—whether that be due to a painful illness or merely their cantankerous attitude while living. Meanwhile a funeral home director only finds the departed to be as valuable as the potential profit margin due to their passing.
The takeaway: These are relative truths, as they were likely valuable to many, yet not of much value to the funeral home until their death. To them, she’s a passing number in an accounting book. But the only absolute truth is that the individual no longer walks among us.
Duality Serves a Higher Purpose
Just like there’s two sides to a coin — both of which much be present for it to be considered ‘valid’ — duality has two sides, and denying either one of those sides would invalidate the existence of the other.
We cannot delete one side without deleting the other side, so we have to live by accepting duality as what opens up the doorway to all truths for us. What experiences can you share with us about dealing with duality in your life?
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