We basically define others and ourselves by opposites. When we are not defining opposites, we are creating them. I’m hot. I’m cold. I’m rich. I’m poor. I’m skinny. I’m fat. I’m right. You’re wrong. And, we dart back and forth. One moment I’m happy. The next moment I’m sad. It can be as dizzying as a merry-go-round or maybe, the Buddhist wheel of life. When looking at it from this perspective you can see Buddha’s point of walking the middle ground.
It is said that opposites attract. I consider my husband and I opposites in many instances, although several people have said that we are two peas in a pod. My daughter was the first person that I ever heard say that about us. While it is true in lots of respects such as we have a lot of the same interests, and tend to agree about most things, and more importantly we work towards the same spiritual goals, I don’t see it as being completely true. I see my husband as having many qualities that are opposite of mine. He is extremely patient and very slow to anger, especially with me. Patience is not one of my virtues. He is very skilled at doing quite a few things and is a very hard worker. I also consider myself the opposite on these traits as well.
How often do we consider ourselves complete opposites of our families? Who doesn’t go through the stage of thinking I was adopted? For the last several days I have been thinking of beginning with one room and taking everything out and putting back only what we absolutely need. Of course that which is discarded would be recycled in a respectable manner. My mother was a serious hoarder, although I won’t say that it was to the extent that you might see on television. I want to be the opposite of that. However, what we resist is usually futile, as the Borg would say. I never considered my father a hoarder, but after my mother died, he seemed to take up the slack when it came to hoarding. I look around me and see all the things that I hoard, mostly books and paper items, and more clothes than I definitely need. My husband is a huge electronic and gadget hoarder. There are a lot more examples that I could give rather than hoarding, many of which would be considered good qualities, but in the end, we usually see just how much we are like our parents.
In raising my daughter I did not want her to be fearful, timid or insecure. In other words I wanted her to be the opposite of what I considered my own shortcomings. I was told once I did a good job in this respect. Still, what lies underneath can be quite different or quite the opposite. There are many layers of opposites.
All these opposites and all these layers of opposites, though, are really only optical illusions. Underneath all is the primordial Om, the truth of Oneness.
Still, we couldn’t have this earth school or earth lab without the opposites. How would we learn? So, in that respect, I’m thankful for our opposites and our families that provide them, and hope that we can all see them for the illusion that they really are.