The Masks of Duality


by Jenny Griffin -

We hear a lot about the idea of duality and its apparent opposite, unity or Oneness. It seems the role or goal of consciousness is to transcend the former and move into a state of awareness that we are the latter.

What’s been made incredibly clear over this past couple of months is the connection between the masks we wear and the concept of duality. We are so entrained by existing structures and beliefs that sometimes it’s impossible to determine where/who we truly are.

Recently, we lost a bright and shiny light in our world, the American comedian Robin Williams. His own world of duality consisted of a persona the world adored, masking the truth of his bi-polar mind and a person who perhaps couldn’t accept the beauty of his own light.

It’s time to remove our masks and it’s time we give ourselves some slack.

There is no one way to be ‘spiritual,’ to be ‘conscious’ or to be human. There are as many ways as there are people on the planet, and each is as valid as the others.

There appear to be underlying programs in the realm of the New Age or Spiritual community that hold ‘conscious’ people to higher standards than their fellow humans: it’s wrong to judge; it’s un-loving to act this way; we shouldn’t use certain language for fear of triggering another’s wounds or donning a mantle of saviour, martyr or victim.

It’s exhausting and disempowering to define ourselves in ways that mean we may be running our every word and thought through a filter that either allows or disallows certain experiences/emotions/thoughts/actions. We are each as human as one another, and we are not beholden to a separate set of rules.

The way we find our divine truth is through the experiencing of ALL things – some find awakening through the teachings of another, some find it through psychedelic experiences, some find it through meditation, some through catharsis, and some through reaching ecstatic sexual heights.

Some find it through exploring their own suffering, shame and judgement. Some find it through addiction and abuse. All paths are equally valid.

The way to unity is towards duality, not away from it. 

In trying to deny the existence of things that make us ‘un-spiritual,’ like judgement, shame, anger, etc, we actually move further into the separation we seek to escape. Instead, we can try to make space for all things to exist in every moment.

If we feel judgement arise, accept the judgement (and our judgement of it), and allow it to exist in the same space as the acceptance. This way, we don’t drive a wedge further into the spaces between the ‘desired’ feelings/experiences and the ‘undesired’ ones. All are equivalent.

Unity is through duality, not in the opposite direction – that belief is in itself dualistic (!) This way, we’re not always reaching out of what is for an experience that feels better, we’re sitting in what is and feeling better about it.

The only true reality is the Source-point of unity – the structures we’ve chosen to define ourselves and our external reality are only (fear-based) constructs designed to give us ‘proof’ of our existence. 

In truth, existence, like love, isn’t based on external reflections of ourselves or our validity, but on internal alignment with the belief in our existence. 

In other words, without reflections of our existence would we cease to exist? It seems the goal of conscious awakening is to simply exist without definition, without perception and reflection.

As we accept the truth of our existence in its perfect imperfection, we also make space for others to do the same.


Deeper Into Ourselves

Taking this even further into the idea of masks, we can examine the idea that in accepting, even momentarily, the validity of each experience as it arises, we are simply trying on a mask. That is our prerogative as beings with free will and conscious choice.

In each moment, we can choose to bring awareness to the mask(s) we’re wearing and as we do, know that something is asking to be acknowledged as a teacher. 

If we don the judgement mask, what’s underneath wanting to be addressed? Is there an underlying fear or insecurity that we can in this moment send Love to?

This way, we don’t shift into the immediate desire to move away from a situation that makes us or others uncomfortable, simply because we don’t want to rock the boat or upset the status quo.

Consciousness comes of trying on the different masks until they become unsustainable. At some point, we tire of lying to ourselves or of feeling judgmental or of being different things to different people. The illusions are not easy to maintain and we only end up hurting ourselves.

Without allowing ourselves to feel the contrast between the varying experiences, we may never reach the awareness that the contrast exists. 

It’s a bit of a Catch-22. By checking ourselves fervently and not allowing the dissonance, we are donning a mask of a different sort.

All responses are valid. All emotions are valid. All masks are valid. As we allow them to exist in the same space as the awareness of them, we find the winding path through duality into a state of further unity.

It is through feeling the truth of each experience in our hearts that we discover the way that leads us deeper into ourselves. As we do, we might just discover that some of the experiences that brought us here naturally fall away to leave only the magic and joy that lie underneath.

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