Most of our life we feel and react to our dualistic nature without being aware of its innate reality. In our instinctive reaction we interpret its felt effect, as some elemental, cosmic effect. For instance, if we get into a serious car accident, we might blame it on some vengeful demon or say it was god’s will or bad luck. If we win the lottery we might believe that it was god’s will or good luck. We are for the most part ignorant, that our life is conditioned by a dualistic process.
Within our dualistic process we recognize and relate to the quintessential position we humans are put in many times each and every day. Motivated by the evolutionary impulse to progress, our desires and thoughts aggregate to interact, either to attract or repel, with others’, (others here could be people, national interests, cultural interests, institutional interests, etc.), desires and thoughts to create conditions with which we must respond. Our choices are what they always are: doing what pleases us, what offers immediate gratification to our senses, feelings, self-will or choosing the best consequences regardless of personal feelings or self-benefit. In our Western Culture these universal choices are amusingly portrayed with a devil sitting on the left shoulder whispering, in our ear, ego-centric advise, and an angle sitting on our right shoulder whispering, in our ear, celestial advise.
Our dualistic nature has also been the theme of dramas dating back to Sophocles’ tragedies and on to J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings.” A clear, and highly dramatic portrayal of our dualistic nature comes from a contemporary rendition, in movie form, from a movie called, “Excalibur.” This 1980 something movie, shows a scene where Sir Lancelot’s, a Knight in King Arther Court, dualistic selves are locked in combat. One self is King Arther’s Knight, loyal, noble, courageous, the other self is in love with the King’s wife, Guinevere. There in Lancelot’s dualistic condition his struggle begins, and ends with a sword thrust by his noble, loyal self into the side of his passionate, ego self.
We can see clearly that our dualistic nature is played out upon a continuum of extremes: spiritual/material, good/bad, etc. There is than, a perpetual tension and struggle coursing through our lives. This perpetual tension is what ignites our self-consciousness, and our self-consciousness must then navigate through the continuum of extremes. This movement within the continuum of extremes can be thought of as a, “dualistic scale.” However, the scale does not always balance because our current evolutionary, environment, in which we has our being, is heavily tilted towards the material side of the spectrum. This tilt towards the material/phenomenal side is the direct cause of our ignorance of the spiritual side of the continuum. Thus we spend most of our energy relating to our dominate physical side, and the building and sustaining our ego identity.
Can our ego identity be integrated with the spiritual side of the continuum? The answer is yes, but aside from placing us at the threshold, our rational mind is incapable of spiritually enlightening us. All our rational attempts at enlightenment will invariably lead to paradox, because of our dualistic process, Put another way, all the material bricks and mortar the rational mind uses to build our ego personality must be removed brick by brick. There is a Sanskrit word, “samsara” which describes the mortar that holds the ego bricks together. Samsara means conditioned tendencies, usually negative and self-willed, to particular ways of thinking and acting. “…all beings fall into error by reason of the delusion of the opposites which spring from liking and disliking”… say Krishna in the “Bhagavad-Gita.”
The path to spiritual enlightenment is difficult, It is said , of all those who aspire to enlightenment only one takes the first step, and of all who take the first step, only one succeeds. Our spiritual nature impels us to take the first step. So why not comply? Today is a good day to take the first step.