The Paradox of Human Experience: The Positive & Negative Sides of Our Reality
The Dalai Lama said, “Basically we are all the same human beings with the same potential to be a good human being or a bad human being …. The important thing is to realize the positive side and try to increase that; realize the negative side and try to reduce that. That’s the way.”
Without awareness of our unconscious psychological process, it is easy to misconstrue the guidance of this beautiful Spiritual Leader. It seems clear and straightforward—move towards the positive and away from the negative. However, the guidance can be confusing. In our dualistic world, positivity and goodness do not travel alone. They are constantly accompanied by negativity and badness. Is our beloved Spiritual Leader leading us astray? Or is our unconscious misunderstanding the culprit?
The key to understanding our unconscious misinterpretation rests in revisiting the instruction to: “realize the positive side and increase that; realize the negative side and reduce that.”
Positive and negative are the two sides of the Coins of Thinking, Doing, and Being, when Being is happening in a body with a conceptual mind.
Most of us will read the Dalai Lama’s words and automatically move unconsciously to put our “good, positive self” forward, and our “bad, negative self” aside. This is the result of the unconscious process engaging in strategies to deny the existence of the negative bad side, repress it when it arises, or suppress it so it can’t emerge at all.
Why does it do this? Because the Human process is driven by a biological directive to move toward pleasure and away from pain. And additionally, the Human process has been conditioned to believe this is the way to become more positive and thus, a good person.
Living in a dualistic level of reality means there will always be both positive and negative, and both good and bad. This being the case, wisdom dictates a re-evaluation of your core biological strategy that moves you toward the positive and away from the negative as a way to find happiness and peace.
Since duality is the Human experience—regardless of how you understand it from the Divine perspective—how do you navigate the presence of positive and negative without setting up what you like against what you dislike (which is equivalent to suffering) since both will always be with you?
How do you live in the world on a daily basis in a life style that has to deal with both sides of the Coin of Thinking (positive and negative), both sides of the Coin of Feeling (pleasure and pain), and both sides of the Coin of Being (Human and Divine)?
The key for reducing the negativity is to paradoxically embrace its presence when it arrives. Embrace it by breathing into its presence in your body/mind—actually allowing it to be there, feeling it in your body as fully as you can, and accepting its presence as “what is” in the moment. Paradoxically, this action increases the positive because you are saying “yes” to what is happening which simultaneously reduces the negative.
The reality of duality to the body/mind cannot be overlooked. It is the fundamental pattern supporting the flow of Human experience. Understanding this and accepting that the body/mind will always be subject to duality (regardless of its illusory nature) gives you the key to unlocking the potential to live in the world as both a Human Being and a Divine Being.
Explore this dance of duality within your own nature, and discover the wisdom and joy of allowing life to be exactly what it is—moment to moment—embracing both the positive and the negative with open arms.