dualism as opposed to the shades of grey

Dualism — Don’t Define Your World in Black and White.

Because the truth isn’t in the black and white of Dualism. The truth is contained in the shades of grey

How does the concept of Dualism affect your life? Dualism is the concept of two equally opposing forces. An example of dualism is found Taoism, with its forces of yin and yang. In Taoism, these forces are not good and evil, but complementary forces.

The Perspective of the Lion & the Deer

Everything in creation has both yin and yang aspects. In other words, the world is not black and white, but shades of gray. No moral judgment of good or bad is attached. For an example of how pure dualistic thought works, let’s look at the life of the lion and the deer. From the lion’s perspective, hunting the deer is (morally) good because it sustains the pride. From the deer’s perspective, the Lion is an evil force.

We must learn to stand outside the dualistic paradigm of the lion and deer.  Only we do this are we able to get the whole perspective. We observe how the lion first hunts those diseased. This keeps the deer herd healthy. The lion also thins the herd.  In this way, the deer don’t multiply beyond the capability of the land to sustain them.  The lion helps sustain the balance of the ecosystem.  We doubt neither the lion nor the deer understands their unique places in this yin and yang expression of creation. The lion is not good or evil. The lion is a lion. The deer is the deer.

Dualism a Hinderance to Spirituality

Dualism can easily become a hindrance to our spirituality.  This narrow perspective locks into the perspective of the deer or the lion.  It reduces reality to thinking in terms of black and white, good and evil, happiness and sadness. With the overriding perspective of dualism, there is no way to see the shades of gray.  If there is no way to step outside of the role of the lion or the deer. We become “locked into” a perspective.  We take ideological “take positions” based on narrow perspectives.  This prevents us from being able to step outside and observe from the third perspective.  The third perspective is the ability to see the whole.

Dualism as a Prison of the Mind

So, dualism becomes a prison of the mind. And, unfortunately, dualism, in one form or another, permeates much of Western thought. The monotheistic concept of singular Supreme Being conflicts with the concept of dualism.  This is because dualism is a balance between two equal forces. This is a difficult issue to reconcile in a belief system such as “absolute monism.”

Absolute monism asserts there is ONLY one Supreme Being. This is a problem in systems that have a lesser God or evil entity.  You must explain why a more powerful Supreme Being would allow another lesser God to continue to exist. This becomes “mitigated dualism.” In this case, you actually have two Supreme Beings.  However, one is subordinate to the other, and in some cases.  This is the case with the problem of evil perpetrated by an “evil entity.” It requires evil to be done with the permission of the larger God.  These actions occur through natural disasters or by perverting (possessing) people to perpetrate evil.  This type of circular logic is the bedrock of Persian and Assyrian mythology.

Western Organized Religion and Dualism

Most Abrahamic traditions ascribe to some version of mitigated dualism. The Abrahamic Religions. The Western organized religions of Semitic origin, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. These religions are the re-branding of mythologies of the ancient Assyrian, Egyptian, Persian and Babylonian empires.

So, even if you aren’t a follower of one of these religions you are probably still affected by their colossal social reach. As of 2005, estimates classified 54% (3.6 billion people) of the world’s population as adherents of an Abrahamic religion, about 32% as adherents of other religions, and 16% as adherents of no organized religion. As a result, the level of influence depends upon how much these beliefs are integrated into your life. There are specific tools of doctrine for integrating people into these paradigms.

1. Mandatory membership and allegiance to a Supreme Being, (God or Gods)
2. The justification for what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior and values
3. Required belief in the afterlife, or life after death with either rewards or punishment

Sadly, people in charge of many governments place the dogma and values of these religious traditions above the fair and equitable treatment of all people and the environment.  It’s been a battle that isn’t new.  Earlier forms of Gnostic Christianity were aligned with pure dualistic philosophy, asserting the Devil was an equal and separate independent deity. The Christian dualists of the Byzantine Empire, the Paulicians, were seen as Manichean heretics. This tradition of Christian dualism, founded by Constantine-Silvanus, argued that the universe was created through evil and separate from a moral God. In essence, all of creation including humanity was an evil error.

Moving Beyond Dualism

How does one then obtain the ability to step outside of this paradigm in order to employ other techniques for expanding consciousness? How does one move the consciousness to the perspective of the observer rather than being trapped into the world-view of the lion or the deer? The first step is recognizing the issue in your own values and judgments. We’ll discuss other tactics you can employ once you better understand the roles you play and your own sacred ground.

The Repeating Question Exercise

The process

This process works best with a partner, but you can do it alone.  With a partner, they ask the question and pause waiting for your response. You write down a few words to help you remember.  Then they ask the same question again.  The person asking the question needs to remain “non-judgment” and keep everything confidential.  They keep asking the question, repeating it, for about 10 minutes.  This will give you a good list and also get below the canned or easy answers.

If you do this exercise alone, ask the question out loud.  Use a timer and keep going at least 10 minutes.  In either case, with a partner or alone you must be honest.

The Questions

In order to recognize the roles, you play as the lion or the deer we employ a series of repeating questions to ferret out the emotional, spiritual and sometimes the physical ties we have to these roles. You can do this too by writing down what you believe is evil. These are the things or traits that represent the lion.

  • What do you believe is evil in you?
  • What do you believe is evil that exists outside of you?

Then write down the things you believe are good. These are the things or traits that represent the deer.

  • What do you believe is good in you?
  • What do you believe is good that exists outside of you?
Analysis

Lastly, review your lists and write down how these things and traits could be viewed from the perspective of the observer, without the attachment of good or evil, happiness or sadness.

If you view your three lists and can’t list how these could be viewed from a different perspective, then you know you have some work to do regarding your ability to see past the boundaries of your paradigm. If this is the case take your list to the library and research the topics using sources OUTSIDE or those that directly oppose your current view of thinking. You don’t have to be a lion or a deer. There is a third perspective where peace is found in Being the Observer.

In Conclusion

What happens if you complete the exercise above and only have two lists?  What happens if you can think of nothing that would allow you to see the third perspective?  Well, you have some work to do.  We definitely recommend conducting research using sources from outside your paradigm.  In fact, if your belief system has a “banned” book or subject list, then that’s the place to start. You’ll need to challenge your current boundaries of thinking.

If this article resonates, there are more on our blog.  Also, you may be interested in learning about our blended learning process.  This is our curriculum which we use to teach several mind-expanding tools.  It also aligns the Hero’s Journey.  This is the term Joseph Campbell gave the pattern of consciousness development.  Our learning process is available in two forms.  You can take part in the virtual learning module or in our workshops.

While you are here please also check out our page FAQ for information about our mission.  And, please consider donating to support our mission of providing these ancient spiritual development tools.

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