Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Dualism

It is said that there is no white or black (as in magick) but only what is and that that is neither good nor evil. I, however, prefer to embrace the idea of duality: that there is both good and bad, positive and negative, black and white in all we see, think, feel and experience. It's always there, whether we're casting a spell and taking care to not overstep the bounds of kindness and respect for our fellow man and thus inadvertently send negative energy towards another, and it's there in the mundane, ordinary things we do every single day. Like when taking a simple walk on a summer's evening.

The other night I went for a walk with Griffin up the railroad tracks near my house. I hadn't been there in years so it was with some surprise that I realized I had forgotten that the wetland at the back of my property extends well into the woods and opens up into a lovely little river with lush greenery on either bank, a river that continues on under the tracks and beyond. The vines growing up the trees were a vivid green, the cat o' nine tails numbered in the hundreds and the purple loosestrife was electric in the setting sun. Catbirds called from the trees and there was a beaver dam, as well as several beavers doing their beavery things: splashing and playing in the water. It was an incredibly peaceful, potent scene and the two of us stood there quietly watching the beauty of it all from the tracks above before we continued on.

Just a few short yards beyond that idyllic eden and barely off the tracks into the woods we passed several tattered tents, garbage strewn about them in their tiny clearings, old shopping carts full of debris and several homeless people who, most unfortunately, call these shelters (that clearly barely keep out the elements) "home." And a few more yards down the tracks we passed still more makeshift homeless camps. Once again we found ourselves silenced by the scene before us.

I am a huge fan of junkyards and especially of the enormous pile of rusted, twisted metal bits that can always be found in one. And so it was with some joy that the tracks we walked passed by a junkyard that was in the process of ripping to bits (with heavy equipment) rusty old cars and then delicately placing the pieces upon the giant pyramid of metal. The noise was deafening and the metal simply fabulous to behold. And it got me thinking about the idea of dualism.

This walk was meant to be just a walk on a warm summer night. I didn't expect to see such powerful nature along the tracks nor did I expect to be rendered speechless by the evidence of the human suffering I witnessed as well. I watched rusty old metal being recycled into something new: something most people consider ugly, yet something I find beautiful. Even in the ordinary there is good and there is bad. And much of it is subjective; a personal trigger that sends us reeling in one direction or the other, and as it was in the case of my walk: both directions in quick succession. So take a moment in your day, as you do all those little insignificant things we all do every single day, and stay present. Really see what's before you and you might be surprised by just how many times you're presented with life's duality. Because that's how our wonderful universe balances itself. You can't have one without the other. Watch and see.

Photo courtesy of _SMadsen on flickr.

4 comments:

Robur d'Amour said...

Another interesting manifestation of dualism is between Psyche and Matter.

What is the relationship between our thoughts/feelings, and the material world - both living things, and inanimate objects. Some people believe there is a sprit in everything.

There's also a dualism between the conscious (things we know about and can perceive) and the unconscious (things we don't know about or can't perceive).

We can't directly perceive things like gravity and electricity, but they exist, and to some extent, 'run the world'.

And the world of spiritualism, of which I know nothing, seems to hinge around ideas of spirit and matter.

Nellie said...

I agree with you completely (and try to remind myself of the same fact when faced with people I REALLY don't like!)
... everything is shades of grey. I'm not sure absolute evil or absolute good exist, and often it's about which end of the spectum you're at - there are seeds for both the dark and the light in all of us and we actively chose which seed to feed.

... the woods sound beautiful, I'd love to see them.

Nellie x

Robur d'Amour said...

To a fox, a rust old car may be more beautiful than a tree, because he may be able to make a home in it.

To a bluebottle, a cow-pat is more beautiful than a lily.

The Wildlife movement in gardening is trying to wean gardeners away from their neuroses about tidyness. It is good to have piles of rotting logs and long grass. I even saw one article which suggested that rusty old cookers, and old kettles, make good homes.

One distinction between a tree and a rusty old car is that a tree is made by nature, and a rusty old car is made by man. Nature vs Man is another dimension of duality.

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