Friday, August 8, 2008


I know this is kind of obvious, but for some reason I need to write this post about duality, I guess as a reminder to myself about what I already know. In some ways, that's all we ever do, is remember what we already know. Over and over, because we keep forgetting, and there is a beauty and a joy in this forgetting and remembering, although it can be frustrating at times.

And this forgetting and remembering, forgetting and remembering, is part of the duality. Well, this perceived duality, which isn't even duality at all.

Contraction and expansion, contraction and expansion, as we give birth to a new way of being.

I really hate to suffer, and I have a deep-seated fear of the suffering becoming "too much." I have endured seasons of my life when the hell in my mind has causes a strong desire for me to leave the planet altogether. Existential crises, where I wondered, "What is the point of all this anyway? And why should I stick around for it?" There is so much suffering in the world, it's been nearly unbearable for me at times.

But this suffering carves out more and more space for joy to fill one's being. And as I age, I can see more and more clearly, the incredible beauty of it all.

This is the wisdom of duality. This is the richness of it all.

Kahlil Gibran describes this so well.

"Your joy is your sorrow unmasked. And the well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears. And how else can it be? The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain. Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter's oven? And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives? When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy. When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight. Some of you say, "Joy is greater than sorrow," and others say, "Sorrow is the greater." But I say unto you, they are inseparable. Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your head board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed. So you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy. Only when you are empty are you at a standstill and balanced."
-Kahlil Gibran


Jenna said...

Hello lovely
Having convo w Mom, mentioned the twin aspect of your soul and mine, the part of us always living life in parallel.
The same day you wrote this post, we were at the airport eating before our flight, talking about Grama and I told Mommy she must be able to hold so much joy for all the sorrow that has carved out her heart. And then I mentioned the flute metaphor--on the same night as you posted it. I am so grateful for our sistership.
What a lovely blog, straight from your heart. The world appreciates you just as you are. You're doing an awesome job telling the story.
Love you x

Michael said...

Thanks Erin. I needed to here this right now. I clicked through to your blog from a message that someone forwarded to me. I've been wondering too about being able to handle the pain. I've had a shoulder problem lately, and occasionally if I move it the wrong way I get a minute or two of quite intense pain. Not really that big a thing but, I had two friends die this summer of cancer. They experienced a lot of pain over many months. I don't think I would mind dying but the pain scares me. It's been said that we are never given more than we can handle. I hope that's true.
You probably don't know who I am, but I've met you at raw food potlucks.