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  • Writer's pictureJohn Turnquist

The Necessity of Conflicting Opposites

Updated: Nov 30, 2020

As humans, we exist in a world of conflicting opposites: hot/cold, light/dark, black/white, up/down, good/bad, day/night, empty/full, depressed/happy, etc. From a lower vantage point, we detest being forced to grapple with conflicting opposites, especially the seemingly “negative” half. The experience of opposites give rise to the experience of pain and suffering; we hate feeling bad, and we’re scared that the good will go away. When the experience of opposites tosses us around, we see only the trees and not the whole forest. We create artificial boundaries between “good” and “not good” and try to cling to good and push away bad; as a result, we often become entangled in a vicious “good/bad” cycle which perpetuates and deepens our suffering.

However, if conflicting opposites resolved themselves entirely, our individual and collective human experience would lose all meaning, value, and purpose. The underlying motor driving all of human existence would sputter out entirely. We need experience of the "negative" side in order to comprehend/pursue the "positive" side, and to have the energized drive to evolve towards wholeness -- a state which tolerates and understands all conflicting opposites. Healing the suffering of conflicting opposites requires us to elevate our understanding, to see this play of energy from a higher perspective. We begin to understand that what seems “good” only makes sense and has real meaning in a context of what seems “not good.”

Without experiencing emptiness, fullness would have no meaning or value, and vice versa ... without knowing silence, sound would have no meaning or value, and vice versa ... without pain/suffering, joy and peace would have no meaning or value, and vice versa … without knowing “evil” (both inside and outside of ourselves), “good” would have no meaning or value, and vice versa … without limitation, how could transcendence even make sense? ... without terror/fear, how could we truly revere courage? … without stress, would we even desire change?

From this elevated perspective, all conflicting opposites have an important and integral place in the grander scheme of things, so we can fully understand ourselves as human beings and have human/spiritual experiences. But, most importantly, so we can evolve towards our own highest expression of wholeness -- which is beyond the roller coaster of conflicting opposites.

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