For those of you who haven’t read my most recent posts, you may be surprised to know that the picture above (taken yesterday) is of a person (me) who has been home sick for the past 7 days. I haven’t eaten a full meal and have only left the house to fetch the mail since last Friday. I have no appetite and am mostly bed bound, as sitting upright is taxing and uncomfortable after only a short period of time. I even did a short stint in the ER on Saturday, due to having a fever, weakness to the point of not being able to walk on my own, and belly pain.
Why am I telling you this? Well, I think this is a pretty good real-life example of what the heck the teachings of non-duality are all about.
It’s easy to look at this pic of me and think I look totally healthy and without cause for hardship. It’s easy to look at this pic and be totally surprised to find out that I’m barely able to get out of bed. We all get caught in dualistic thinking on the daily. Meaning, we don’t think two things can operate at the same time. Things either have to be this way OR that way. That’s what dualistic thinking is all about.
Non-dualistic thinking, on the other hand, involves being able to hold two seemingly opposing realities at the same time, allowing them to co-exist together as two parts of the same reality.
In this case, being able to accept and rest in a state of non-duality equates to seeing that both of these things are true: I am sick and not feeling physically well AND I’m able to smile brightly and keep a positive outlook and attitude. I am both sick and happy at the same time!
The more able we are to sit with ease in relation to life’s many paradoxes, the more content we will be as a result. The more we fight against them or attempt to figure them out intellectually, the more we will suffer.
It’s like two of my very favorite teachings say:
When I harp about how everything taking practice, I really do mean everything. Being sick and not having our mood tank because of feeling ill takes practice. It takes practice when we’re amid the bout of sickness itself and it takes practice when we’re in the graces of having good health.
The mind and body are not separate. They inter-are with one another. What affects one, affects the other. So when we help to take care of one faculty, we’re helping to take care of its counterpart. Developing this understanding can aide us tremendously in our efforts to practice the art of how to be both sick and happy at the same time.
To rest in the paradoxes of life is a great release of tension and struggle. It entails our being able to accept and embrace the full breadth of what is happening in the present moment, verses wishing for things to fit neatly into one limiting self-constructed box or the other.