Facing The Darkness, Part III: Seeing the World in Color

Have you ever tried to explain contradictions to young children? As they try to make sense of a confusingly complex world, they search for shapes and boundaries. They want to know where one thing or idea begins, and where it ends.

When the boundaries are violated, when children see contradictions, like the child in The Emperor’s New Clothes they ask.

Some of these contradictions are us being inconsistent, a black and white contradiction, for example where our actions don’t match our beliefs and words.

But then there are situations and ideas where black and white fade away, and something entirely different shows up.

We like to pretend that the world is black and white, opposites are completely distinct, and I can choose one side without the other. But it’s not usually so.

If we hate violence, can we face the possibility that there is a situation where we may have to stand up and protect what is precious, even if this means confronting others (whether it’s with powerful emotions or physical action, and even in rare instances, violent action)?

The point here is not to erase all boundaries and distinctions, or to deny the existence of evil.

The point is to admit that we live in a world of opposites. I need to recognize that I am an extraordinarily complex being, and that I need to explore who am I and be open to learning and change.

I’m a great believer in simplicity. I love people who want to express themselves clearly, without unnecessary jargon.

But some things are complex. When we try to oversimplify who we are, we may end up discarding the greatness that waits for us.

And uncovering our greatness begins with accepting the reality of who we are right now, our moments of greatness, and our foolishness.

From that place of honesty and truth we can explore the lessons of the neglected and discarded sides of ourselves, and find a way to reveal, purify, and reconcile those opposite parts of ourselves.

Can we even consider that the truth for us may be some synthesis or reconciliation of what we initially think are absolute opposites? It seems so unlikely at first.

We assume that what we need to do is to get rid of some part of us that we view as absolutely negative. But typically we need to find a way to live with the opposites, and find an aspect of every tendency, every behavior which we can use to become greater and to build up the world.

What will such honesty do to my image of myself and others?
We like to pretend that we know each other, and that it’s simple to understand another person. The surface may be simple, but in the depths of my soul I’m complicated and wild.

And that’s where our greatness lies.

And that’s what can make our relationships with another person full of wonder, instead of dull habits based on the simple surface of the person that we can see.

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