Duality of Things
As I write this, I am a little bit tired and a little bit expectant (of weather, not a child). I am tired due to a lack of sleep. I have learned how to put my mind at rest to slip into the existence we call sleep rather easily, very easily in fact. However, my very large puppy decided someone needed to be on guard during the night and that someone was me. Nothing would satisfy him so he could go to sleep unless I got up, sat up in my usual comfortable chair and took over the duties of night watchman. When a giant-sized god decided on something, it is very hard to say no so I have been up rather a longer period of time than usual and I am tired.
At the same time I am expectant. Our weather is calling for rain and there is a manhunt going on within a five mile radius of my home. Because our temperatures have been high, summer hanging on as long as it can in my neighborhood, we will most likely have thunderstorms. I would not say that I am afraid of storms but I am very respectful of them. I have had lightning strike my car and blow out part of the engine. I have walked through a category five hurricane to seek safer abode, and I have shoveled sixty-plus inches of snow. I completely and totally respect that which we affectionately call Mother Nature.
A recent commenter asked me to share what I had learned recently from writing all these posts. One of the things I have discovered is that I now consider storms to be somewhat delightful. Learning all the different mythologies regarding the elements of a thunderstorm make them almost seem like family. You might consider that a bit whimsical and yet, nature and mankind are family. I always considered that we shared this universe, beings and nature, but doing this series has given me a new perspective on storms.
The manhunt going on is due to an act of violence. A shooter is being sought and someone else was injured. Much is made about gun control in the USA and there is a duality about that, just as there is with storms. Thunderstorms bring much needed rain and have even been considered to be nature’s way of maintaining balance. At the same time, they can be destructive. Lightning strikes can create wildfires; winds can topple trees which then can lead to more destruction, and tornadoes can form rearranging the entire landscape of an area. Even my being tired is a duality of feelings because while yes, I am tired and sleepy, I am also blessed to be able to have a dog and be loved by him – all one hundred-plus pounds of him.
When we discuss gun control in the USA and with similar conversations in other countries, what we are really discussing is not just gun ownership but controlling the violence that often accompanies the weapon, the gun. A gun placed on a table will not, unless moved by vibrations or direct intent, cause harm. That same gun when seen by someone emotionally unable to think clearly and control their actions will most assuredly result in injury. The gun is both harmless and harmful.
I am not overly concerned about the ongoing manhunt but rather expectant because I have faith in our law enforcement community. At the same time, I am listening to a news report in which a chief in that community conducted himself in such a way so as to possibly just have derailed a federal court case. This is yet another example of the duality of both good intentions and improper or negative results.
We have many instance of duality in the mythologies of the world and I have learned just how similar many of them in spite of originating in cultures that were very different. Perhaps one of the greatest dualities is the Babylonian mythology of creation, a product of the ancient cultures of Mesopotamia. Known as “Enuma Elish”, this story was retold orally each spring vernal equinox, considered to be their New Year holiday and festivities. The story is about the dual nature of water, that life-giving source which covers most of the planet. According to the myth, creation came from two seas, the sweet water, called Apsu a masculine entity, and the salt water, Triamat, a feminine entity. The story tells of Mummu the mist god, Anu, the god of heavens, and Ea, the god of earth and water. Someone kills another and in the death comes new life and the beginning of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers.
The most interesting thing I have learned about doing this series on mythology is also a duality of sorts. In acquainting myself with the various spiritualities discussed, I listened to an Akashic Circle Blessing from 2014. This is a celebration of sorts conducted near the fall vernal equinox. In less than two weeks another one, one of many, will be held in Houston, TX. (For more information, please go to www.nancykern.com) In listening to this circle blessing, the opportunity which was a blessing in and of itself, someone mentioned something in passing that resonated with me.
Tai Chi is an ancient art form, among other things, which we will discuss later this month. The name translates as “supreme iron fist” which is fitting since originally, Tai Chi was an ancient martial arts. It also has a duality, the teaching of movement but also of breathing. Today it is often practiced as a means of connecting with one’s body and inner self and is highly recommended as a way of managing the stress of everyday life.
The duality of which I speak regards a movement – actually two movements. One involves balance on one leg. The value to improving one’s core strength is fantastic as I can personally attest. Many people often mistake Tai Chi for a form of yoga because of the health benefits. There is another movement, however, which requires one to firmly plant both feet on the ground. During the Akashic Circle Blessing I heard, the leader, Nancy Kern, referenced these two movements and compared them to someone unable to move forward in their living.
I was struck in doing this research and listening to how often we come to a conclusion and firmly plant both feet on the ground. There is value in that; after all, we need to be confident in our conclusions. However, the danger comes when we fail to allow ourselves the ability to grow. In planting our feet on the ground we have to make sure that they are rooted and not buried for dead. A tree has strong roots but those roots give it the ability to grow, to receive nourishment. We think of a tree’s roots as giving it structure but it also gives it the ability to evolve and grow.
So, what I have learned during this series is that I need to come to conclusions but let those conclusions continue to develop. A conversation in which two people never listen to the other is not a conversation but simply two monologues occurring at the same time. To have a dialogue, an exchange of ideas, a real conversation, both parties must listen and then respond after having thoughtfully considered the other person’s exchange. The stories told, those stories we now call mythologies, were not just a series of thoughts but a series of events woven into a tapestry of living, breathing events of living. Their duality of being both ancient and still current reflects the duality of life, the choices of good over evil with which we are all confronted every day.
Life is not a one-dimensional picture. Life is a living, breathing exercise, much like the yoga and Tai Chi many are doing right now. We need those roots but we need room to grow, adapt, evolve. Tomorrow we will discuss a symbolic part of Hindu mythology, symbolism with deep roots that blossom a through the mud – yet another duality.