By Adam J. Pearson
Gyan J. Schneider: Don’t you think the apparent nature of our universe is dualistic?
Adam J. Pearson: in my experience, Gyan, our universe is nondualistic in nature. Apparent opposites are not matters of absolute binaries, but of continua — one opposite gradually blurring into another from one side and then moving towards the other direction. Good and evil, living and dying, hot and cold, light and darkness can all be seen in this way.
Sometimes, once one arrives at an extreme, one cannot go back in the opposite direction again; there is an asymmetry to some of the polarities in our universe. For instance, once you die Gyan, try as I might, I won’t be able to bring you back. But out of your dead corpse (and from mine), other lifeforms will find the means to further their own life; the dead provide the means of life to the living.
Photo: living mushrooms growing out of a dead tree stump
All opposites depend on each other for their definitions and existence; through darkness we can recognize light, through light, we can recognize darkness. Even energy and the dense substance of matter, which at first glance seem so different, can be interconverted, as Einstein’s famous rest mass energy-matter equivalence equation (E = mc2) showed. Indeed, many opposites can be reversed in this way; the hot can be cooled; the cold can be heated; the virtuous can be made vicious; the vicious can be made virtuous; the sick can heal; the healed can become sick; love can shift into indifference; indifference can shift into love.
Life, and the many amazing inanimate and animate beings in our universe, shift ever between the poles of all pairs of opposite that we can distinguish in an endless cosmic dance. The natures of things on the macroscopic level of galaxies and stars, on the intermediate level of planets and their inhabitants, and on the microcosmic quantum level of shifting, emitting and absorbing particles, are not fixed, but fluctuating. All of the dancers in this vast cosmic dance, as separate and different as they may appear, are in fact, interdependent, interconnected, and in their being, seamlessly one. All apparent dualities, when seen from a deeper perspective, are interrelated. Apparent dualities are actual nondualities.
Without the prison guards, prisoners would not be prisoners; without the prisoners, prison guards would not be prison guards. Even if we dislike things, we rely on what we dislike and what we dislike relies on us. In fact, our very being is nonseparate from everything we witness, experience, and encounter, and everything we never witness, experience, or encounter. Everything we see is our own reflection; all sounds are our own voice. We are our enemies and our enemies are us. Hatred, love, joy, and sadness are all, at their core, nondual in nature; nothing exists in a vacuum. Everything that is, in the words of Thich Nhat Hanh, inter-is. Nothing is isolated or ultimately alone; we all only exist, and only can exist, together.