Saturday, January 21, 2012

Dualities of life

Life is characterized by pairs of opposites such as pleasure and pain, praise and blame, and success and failure. When we seek one, the other comes in uninvited. In the words of Swami Vivekananda, “Happiness and misery are the obverse and reverse of the same coin; he who takes happiness must take misery also. We have this foolish idea that we can have happiness without misery, and it has taken such possession of us that we have no control over the senses.”

God, the only Reality, is nondual. The world is only apparently real, and dualities are inevitable in it. A spiritual seeker has to discriminate between the Real and the unreal, and choose what is beneficial over what is pleasant. With regularity in spiritual practice he is able to achieve calmness of mind and strength of will, see dualities for what they are, and strive for the highest goal of life. The Bhagavad Gita (2.48) defines yoga as even-mindedness. We become established in this even-mindedness as we grow in devotion to God.

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