Passivity and Duality

This post discusses the idea of duality and why passivity is a powerful tool in overcoming the state of duality. We tend to hear this term “duality” all the time when reading certain types of spiritual literature but there is a lot of confusion as to what it signifies. The
term has become in many respects a cliché as have terms such as “oneness”. We hear people who have not experienced “oneness” talking about it almost as if it was some social term. “We are all one” they will say, but clearly we are also autonomous beings.

So what is duality and why does it manifest in the unenlightened psyche. The answer is really very straight forward and is as follows: the unenlightened person perceives two aspects to reality, hence the term duality, meaning two. These two aspects are simply that which is viewed as the self and that which is viewed as not self. In other words themselves and the external world. This is all there is to the concept of duality, nothing more.

The reality of the situation however is that the external world is no more external to a person than the “internal” world. The perception of separateness is an illusion created by the fact that thought is dynamic in nature and seems to be produced by that thing we call “ourselves” and which appears to be located in our heads. Because we appear to control it and because it appears to move we identify it as ourselves. Without movement there can be no mentality or so it would seem to the unenlightened person. Hence the unenlightened person refuses to bring this movement under control as  cessation of this movement  represents repression of their very self. “What am I if I do not think” they exclaim.

However this view fails to take into account something very important, namely the fact that our real thought occurs in our intuition. The thoughts that pop into our heads are afterthoughts. It is precisely because the unenlightened person has such a poor perception of their intuitional nature that they cannot stop the endless series of overt thoughts that pop into their heads. They have no direct identification with this intuitional part of their nature and hence they are literally marooned in an intellectual prison that feels entirely separate from surrounding reality. The intuitional intelligence is on the other hand entirely at one with and identified with surrounding reality and is therefore far less concerned with issues of self identity. It is in other words less neurotic and happy to be itself when left alone.

So why is passivity such a valuable tool in overcoming this dualistic state? We can deduce the reason by simply observing that which we perceive to be the “external” world. If our real mind also includes the external world then logic would tell us that observation of the external world might tell us something about the nature of our own mind. So let’s take a look at some of it’s characteristics. We can see that the external world does not worry and we can see when we observe it closely that it is mentally utterly still and free of concern. We can see that it has a certain “emptiness” to it when viewed as a mental entity, that it is free of mental characteristics. If we wish to “become” this mind, to identify directly with it, we therefore have to be like it. One cannot become something by being different to it; we must integrate our own psyche with it. This therefore means passivity, a mental state free of grasping and worry.

We must observe the external world and learn from it. We must become like it and integrate ourselves with it. When this is done thoroughly we perceive reality directly and replace the reactive insecure intellect with a passive satisfied intuition. The intuition is happy to be itself because it knows itself and direct perception brings us closer to our intuitive being. I am reminded of a question posed by the spiritual teacher Richard Rose when he asked

“Do we think or do we conjure”?

The unenlightened person undoubtedly conjures continually. It is not just thoughts they conjure but images, melodies, day dreams, fantasies, hopes, desires. It is literally endless. These things are provoked by a world that is perceived as external to them. Direct perception of the external world quietens all of this because the person realises their true identity and comes into a direct perception of it’s warm and compassionate nature. They become happy just to be.

Therefore observe reality and be like it.

Do not conjure.


6 thoughts on “Passivity and Duality”

      1. I have the mind and soul of a seeker of truth and wisdom, my poetry springs from such a muse. I have studied everything from mysticism to economics, but always
        find myself linking all knowledge to my own personal experience of a divine oneness underlying the fabric of life.

        Thank you for your interest 🙂

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