Are you ready? This one’s gonna be pretty deep.
My clients pretty much fall into collections of people that have very similar issues they’re struggling with. For instance, people who have a history of being religious—it doesn’t really matter what religion—often come to me in middle age with a combination of dread and confusion.
By then they have lived long enough that they know the world includes all sorts of inhumane, cruel and unjust horrors, and this sits uncomfortably with their belief in a good and all-powerful God. The question is so obvious little kids often ask it: if there’s a God and he is loving then why does He let wars happen? The lack of a satisfying answer can cause people to question their fundamental belief that the world (and their life in it), is worthwhile.
Let’s start off by altering the notion of God. Instead of God being a chess-playing separate being that orders other parts of reality around, let’s just make God be reality itself. So you can’t be away from God. You can’t get lost or separated. Even you are made of God. Everything’s God. That’s how awesome God is. And yes, being infinite, God includes war and pestilence and death and disease. And the reason that’s okay is thanks to duality.
Without duality nothing exists. God can’t be aware there is a God unless there is duality. There must be a decider. Someone or something that does the judging of the other. So if the whole world is dark, then there is no such thing as darkness. Because without something opposite to compare it to, there is nothing to be aware of. Once you have light you can recognize dark. You cannot have heroism without danger. Nor love without indifference, or introverted without extroverted–you can’t even have up without down or hot without cold. Can you see that this fact of reality means that we cannot have the good we desire without accepting the creation of bad?
So what’s the answer that allows us to feel better and still somehow know God? If we accept the facts above—if we cease to argue with them in our head when they’re encountered—then we can know peace. If we accept that a wave needs both the crest and the trough for it to exist, then we can stop arguing with and resisting the world. That frees up more energy that can then be applied to paying more attention to the crest, while still acknowledging the existence of the trough.
To want the trough not to be there, or to spend time wishing it away is futile. Without it we cannot have our precious crest. But it’s not the trough itself that’s hurting you—it’s your thoughts about the trough. If you take the same brain energy and use it to ponder the crest, then you change your life. Boom. That easy. There’s a lightning storm happening inside your head and you direct which direction it goes. If you want to feel better then spend time focusing on your good fortune in the present moment. And if you do the opposite you will feel worse.
Accept that duality is necessary before anything can be. Do not rail against aspects of life that are fundamentally necessary to the grand beauty of this world. Accept that with autumn comes spring, and live in the moment you are in without protest. Don’t wish for better times, don’t want for more things, don’t desire a life other than your own. Be fully present and you will realize that your life is just as fantastic and incredible as any other.
You need to know what psychologically unhealthy is before you can choose to be psychologically healthy. It’s not a problem if you’re ever feeling things you don’t like. Just don’t dwell there by fighting against it or feeling it will last. Just accept it and watch for better situations. That is what it is to be wise. That is what it is to know that you have a large amount of control over your mood. Don’t argue with the necessity of suffering. But always watch for reasons to be grateful. For you cannot have one without the other. But you need to be able to see both before you can choose the one you really prefer.
Now go choose yourself an awesome day.
Following a serious childhood brain injury Scott McPherson unwittingly spent his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and the self. This made him as strange to others as they were to him. Seeing the self-harm people created with their own overthinking, Scott dedicated part of his life to helping others live with greater awareness. He is currently a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB, where he finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.