You know what I’ve been uncomfortable with for a long, long time? The grey areas.
For most of my life I really felt uncomfortable with the cloudy uncertainty that comes with things in life that don’t have a clear answer.
This mental confusion and uncertainty caused me to feel anxious so, naturally, I tried my hardest to categorize all of life into the categories of right/wrong, good/bad, etc.
However, things began shifting for me when I seriously considered these dichotomies I created and how they affected my thinking, my relationships, and my openness to new things.
There are some ideas that have helped me to shift my personal way of thinking, and this one is one of the big ones. I don’t mean to exaggerate but it has changed my life. So what is it? Let me explain.
According to Taoism, we live in a universe of contrasts and dualities. Yin/Yang, Light/Dark, Positive/Negative.
Since this is what we observe in the universe, it is natural that we make comparisons.
But in many situations, we can take these contrasts we experience to extremes and begin to place all of life into categories, fragmenting and separating things that are actually interconnected and codependent.
In our personal lives, we place false dichotomies (good/bad, right/wrong) on people and ideas and this can create all kinds of personal and spiritual stuckness.
We do this with many ideas we have about things.
Vegan good, paleo bad. Meditation good, red wine bad. Happiness good, sadness bad. High grades good, low grades bad. This person good, that person bad.
So how has this helped me in with life? I just start questioning my judgements about myself.
What parts of myself and others was I judging as “good” or “bad”? Morally and otherwise?
Can I think of times when I have felt the same feelings that made that person react in a negative way?
My shift in thinking was subtle yet profound.
I went from separating to connecting.
Don’t get me wrong, I still have that automatic judgement come up about people around me, but I have found with that by gently reminding myself, it has become less and less often. It has given me so much more peace of mind by moving my reactions towards that of inter-connectedness and acceptance rather than differences and separateness.