In case we’ve managed to mislead ourselves about how we ended up here in this rough-and-tumble dualistic sphere, it wasn’t by luck of the draw. No, we’re here because planet Earth is a perfect match for the negativity remaining in us; it offers conditions compatible with our inner landscape. Once we get past our negative involvements, we’ll get to carry on in another sphere with nicer accommodations. So we have that to look forward to.
What does that mean, “negative involvement?” This basically refers to our confused ideas about what’s going on around here. We’re confused about reality and we have a headful of crazy concepts. Confusion is evidence of being in illusion and where this prevails there’s always conflict.
Conflicts are split concepts that divide the psyche, and they don’t arise from the truth; conflicts are always the fallout of inner misunderstandings. As we get a grip on reality and gain inner unity by realizing the truth, our splits mend and— voilà—just like that our negative involvement ends.
If we genuinely understand what was just said, reincarnation will no longer be a vague theory for us. We’ll have no doubt that it cannot be any other way than this. For as long as our flaws are still separating us from the truth and therefore from reality, we’ll have to hang out in these conditions where our state of illusion is the norm. This state, in turn, creates the right environment for us to learn and grow and overcome our illusions. So Earth is nothing more and nothing less than a classroom for people with splits.
Take a look around and we can see the opposites of duality everywhere: man and woman, day and night, life and death. This is one way Earth pairs up the halves of two-way splits. We don’t see the two-way split applying to animals and plants and minerals because they are still in a lower state of development so they find themselves with more than just two splits.
We could sit and meditate on abstract concepts about splits all day long and we wouldn’t come an iota closer to understanding them. But if we do the work on this path the way the Guide shows us, we can discover our personal unconscious wrong thinking, and this will make it abundantly clear to us how we create the conflicts that then force us to choose between two alternatives. Of course, since both options stem from a basic illusion, both alternatives are going to lead to an unsatisfactory conclusion, making us feel hopeless.
When we find ourselves ensnarled in a dualistic confusion, we are negatively involved with people and with life. But the worst negative involvement that happens is inside ourselves. We’re locked on a wrong concept and hence we have a tilted view of reality. And these wrong ideas don’t clear up just because we die. No, if we don’t work them out this time around, we’ll come back with the same unresolved confusions in our psyche next time. Our life conditions will be constructed to bring it to the forefront, until we stop evading the issue and roll up our sleeves. Unfortunately, there’s not nearly enough sleeve-rolling going on around Earth-town.
Our relationships with our parents and children are, karmically speaking, our most intense and dramatic. These are the relationships that will most challenge our unresolved confusions and conflicts, and illuminate the underlying basic split. We can see evidence of our split right there in the symbolism of having two parents. If we have a psyche that is largely free and healthy, we will be blessed with a set of parents we think of as an asset. But when our negative involvement is still pegging the meter, our parents will each bring out one side of our split.
If we look at everything we’ve managed to surface so far, including our main image and defenses, our conflicts and faults, they will reveal the basic inner attitude that is governing our life. And this attitude is always split down the middle, meaning we fluctuate back and forth between two essentially opposite ways of reacting.
We won’t figure this out in our second week on the path. It will take some seriously intense work to winch our split up from our inner depths. This requires more than making a few recognitions here and there, seeing an image or unearthing a fault. But all these things at this deep level come together and form a single nucleus that manifests our split out into the world.
If we can fully recognize our split, we can take heart that we are making considerable progress in gaining self-awareness. When this realization starts to gel, we’ll see that our two fundamental attitudes are represented by our parents. Our distorted attitudes come from the influence of one parent—and the way we responded to them—and the other parent produced an entirely different influence and therefore emotional response. So both halves of our conflict got activated.
There was no way for us to work this out before we got here. So our parents, who bring our unmended split out into the open, couldn’t possibly be responsible for our problems. That said, we need to come to terms with their faulty behavior toward us, and it will take us a while to see things in this new light.
Once we see how our split is reflected back to us by our parents, and we see how we rebelled against them, we will be able to discover how our twofold split is still running the show. And it will do so until we mend it, which will require both insight and understanding. Then theories won’t matter a lick, including whether or not we believe in reincarnation. It’s neither here nor there, really, what we believe. What’s important is that we see our split plain as day, and realize how its illusory nature colors our view of life.
Our ‘illusory way of life’ is a fairly accurate description of how we go through life like zombies, automatically responding the way we did to our parents without being aware that we are just repeating our same reactions. It’s like a blind compulsion to keep reliving the past, over and over and over. And we don’t see that we do this, or that what’s driving us is our own hidden split.
So babies don’t really start with a clean slate. Well, we sort of do, but we sort of don’t. Ain’t that duality for ya. We come in with our own unresolved conflicts based on our illusions and misconceptions. But at the same time, we have a very impressionable psyche. We experience everything with a more intense impact—it makes a fresh impression that goes deep and becomes firmly rooted. These impressions are always assimilated in direct proportion to how inherently healthy our soul is to begin with.
So if the same thing happened to us as an adult, it wouldn’t leave such a mark. We know that positive experiences make a greater impression on children than on adults—they have a keener sense of taste and smell, and they’re more curious about even the most simple things. Negative experiences then make a stronger impression on the soul. But such impressions can only land where the psyche is already twisted up in a duality.
This goes deeper than an image. It goes beyond garden-variety duality, which is covered at length in Holy Moly: The Story of Duality, Darkness and a Daring Rescue, and in short in Pithy Cakes: Quippy Confections About Making it Through. This basic conflict is so deep, it’s existence is the reason we have the human experience. But it’s not inaccessible. We can see it clearly in our reaction to our two parents, which we keep reliving every single day. So one person’s duality is not identical to another’s; our split is likely not the same as our brother’s or our sister’s. And also because of this, our limitations aren’t exactly the same as someone else’s.
But once we see our limitations, they instantly weaken. Our vision opens up. We gain more security within ourselves. Splits are not compatible with harmony, so as we surface our split and mend it through our comprehension, we will enjoy more harmony.
Let’s take a look at this repetitive thing we do regarding our split, which is hugely underrated, vastly overlooked, and horribly misunderstood. Psychologists refer to this phenomenon as transference, but it happens everywhere in our life, not with just our therapist. It shows up in all our intense relationships, repeating the original traumatic relationship with our parents to the same intensity as what we experienced as children.
Whenever we are negatively involved with someone, we can be sure our split is a factor in the fireworks. Both sides of our split will always manifest, transferring our double-headed reaction to our two parents onto unsuspecting people and situations. Typically we do this blindly, applying what often has no application at all. We’re completely lost in our illusion, so we react the same we did way back then, which is not a match for the reality of the current situation. The trouble is, our reaction forces the other person to have the very reaction we expected, and which they wouldn’t have had if we hadn’t set them up to deliver it. A swing and a hit.
So for example, if we’re convinced that we are going to be rejected, it will happen. Because our own behavior will be rejecting. We firmly believe in something that isn’t true, and then our belief gets reinforced, so our split cracks open even wider. We can keep doing this for a very long time, until we actually start to see what we are doing. We have to pierce the veil of our unreality if we want to start living in true reality.
We go through life, then, reacting to the person in front of us, not as them but as if they were our parents. We send our responses out into thin air, directed at what we think exists but not at what really exists. So we’re not reaching the real other person. Most of the time, we’re doing this with someone who is doing that same thing right back, so we’re constantly bypassing each other. Our currents crisscross but never land, contributing to the prevalence of people feeling so darned lonely and having such a dickens of a time communicating.
One thing that can help here is if one of the people involved has enough perspective to realize that the other’s responses are not about them. If we’re that person, and we have taken a few steps outside our own blind prison, we may be able to avoid adding fuel to the fire. We will need to have eye-spied our own dualistic split and stopped doing our own dance of transference to stop the onslaught of misdirected arrows from landing on us as their target. Then the negative involvement won’t get a rise out of us. That will be a clue to the sender of the transference that, Hey, maybe these two situations aren’t identical after all.
We need to be the ones to break the cycle, otherwise we’ll go around being dependent on others being healthy and free of duality so that our own transference doesn’t stick. We need to be the ones who step into reality, so that we end the cycles of suffering that result from our confusion and the resulting chaos. We have the power in our hands to avoid a lot of pain. Remember, pain comes from illusion, and illusion is what results from our split that was first lived out in our relationship with our parents.
The way out is through awareness that we are living in a trance. Our blind automatism and our stereotypical responses will slow down as soon as we see how we are doing this. We need to realize that we have never fully reacted to our husband or wife, our child or our friend, as them, but rather as them standing in for someone else.
Yes, we do this with our own children as well. For if we don’t give up this flawed way of going about living, every important relationship we have will be influenced by it. It’s a trap we have to break free from, and that’s the liberation we are seeking and able to find on this spiritual path of self-awareness. Lack of awareness is truly a prison that makes life not worth living because we feel caught between a rock and a hard place. We adopted a certain way of reacting to our parents, and now we keep responding that way and getting the same poor results.
Sometimes our reaction to one parent may be an attempt to correct or compensate for an unwanted situation with the other. It gets complicated. However it shakes out, our two attitudes will come together to form our basic split, and our way of living will be a result of this. Once we break this mold, new experiences can materialize. Then life can become meaningful and joyful, peaceful and rich.
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