During Tuesdays gathering of the Contemplative Community, the discussion turned to the topic of perceived duality. This discussion was spurned by a quote that one of the participants had recently heard at a conference: “The Holy Spirit cannot dwell within our states of negativity.” Upon hearing this comment, I felt the little red flag in my head begin to wave. I then posed the following question to the group: “Is there any place where the Presence of the Divine cannot exist?” When looked at from this vantage point, the answer of course is no. The Presence of the Divine is EVERYWHERE….there is no place where God cannot or does not dwell. The challenge in our human condition is to be open to seeing, knowing and experiencing God in what we perceive to be good as well as what we perceive to be bad.
Unfortunately, the human condition is such that we are predisposed to seeing the world and our lived experience through the lens of perceived duality. We judge each experience, every feeling and all people we meet as good, bad, beautiful, ugly, thin, fat, evil, holy, white, black, gay, straight, Christian, Jew, Moslem, Buddhist, etc. etc. etc. Seeing through the lens of judgment, we are unable to remember the truth that all are One in God. This is especially true in the times of our lives that we judge as painful, dark, bad. On the contemplative path, and as we grow spiritually, we are invited to remove the lens of duality so as to see the world through the eyes of the Divine. Specifically, we allow ourselves to be open to seeing the Presence and Action of the Divine in every moment and every experience, regardless of how we would judge that experience. As we open more and more fully to this truth, we realize that what we perceive as darkness or light are simply an illusion and that in fact, darkness and light are but one. It is this truth that the Psalmist so exquisitely expressed:
Where can I hide from your Spirit?
From your Presence, where can I flee?
If I say, “Surely darkness shall hide me, and night shall be my light” –
Darkness is not dark for you,
and night shines as the day.
Darkness and light are but one.
Psalm 139: 7, 11-12
So for today, the invitation is to be open to seeing through a new lens. How can we be open to seeing the Presence of the Divine in what we would have previously judged as the good, the bad and the ugly?