One of my graduate students from the Facticity Wisdom School recently shared a fascinating discovery with me. She’d been struggling for awhile with the dilemmas of wealth versus poverty, and the privileged versus the underdog.
She felt conflicted around her passion for re-distributing the wealth on our planet versus her absolutely rabid dislike of the people who have this wealth but don’t wish to use it to support this goal.
She had begun to realize that to avoid being someone she would dislike (someone with money), her unconscious mind had avoided accumulating any money. Thus she was constantly broke and unable to fund her passion to change the world.
Upon seeing this dilemma, she became aware of her unconscious polarization against the privileged and for the underdog, and paradoxically, against poverty and for wealth.
A bit stunned by the paradox, she began to grasp that in order to re-distribute the wealth, she had to begin with herself and become one of the privileged — which in actuality she already was. But she couldn’t accept this because it placed her on the side of the dilemma that she was against. Without claiming her status as one of the privileged, who she unconsciously believed to be the problem, she was helpless to fund her internet company designed to help solve the problem. She thus ended up in poverty, seeing herself as the underdog.
For the first time, she reported really understanding that when she chose one side of a polar pair as the ‘right’ way to be (and its opposite as ‘wrong’), she was truly setting herself up for certain frustration and failure.
Setting up what we think is right against what we think is wrong creates Polarity Blindness. This is an inability to see any strengths in what we are against; and an inability to see any weakness in what we are for. We become blind to the possibility that our way of relating to what we hate and are against is what stops us from being effective at creating the outcome we seek.
She’d begun to deeply understand that neither of the two opposites in these polar pairs would ever go away permanently. What changed for our beloved activist was her relationship to these polar pairs and the role she has to play within their ongoing dynamic.
Any place where you may be living with polarity blindness? If you’re in America right now, surely the Presidential elections are fertile ground. Take a look and see what’s unfolding in the privacy of your own heart and mind. You might be a little shocked and surprised to find a bit of unconscious polarization hiding out in a few dusty corners.
Until next week,