With every loss there is a gain, every death a birth, and so on and so on. It is the incorrigible duality of human existence. It never doesn’t happen that way. Recently someone I love so very much, someone who has changed my life and helped me affect personal change, moved to the other side of the country to begin a new chapter in her life. I am excited for her and envious too, as I had planned to be someplace else by now myself. And I am bereft. I am grieving. Without her here I am afraid I will allow circumstance and pressure from others to keep me stuck, to lose faith in the dream. My dream. She helped me find that, and now she’s not here. In a way, I am on my own now. But it was always up to me.
I realize it is only physical distance that separates us right now and there are many ways to stay connected with all the technology at our disposal. But there is a hole in my heart and an emptiness in my house, that cannot be filled by Skype or a text message. And though she has indeed left me a better person for her being here, there is the other side of the duality – she is gone and a virtual hug will never replace a real one. Gain and loss.
I have, all my life, struggled to see life as a circle and not as a series of dual aspects. I have studied zen and believed in the oneness of all things and all life, but living in a body, having this human experience means that there will always be light and dark, good and bad, sweet and sour, et al. I find myself living in constant limbo, floating between two seemingly opposite qualities forever.
Kahlil Gibran, an often maligned poet and artist, uses duality in the most beautiful ways. “Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.”, and “Pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.” Here both things combine to become one, both are interconnected and interdependent. There cannot be one without the other and so they are the same. If I take away the concept of “two sides of the same coin”, and think of it only and always as one coin, I have defied the principle of duality and made two aspects one thing. It becomes my circle and the hard edges disappear.
As for my departed friend, I grieve still for the loss of her physical presence. But what she gave me and what I have become with help from her are still with me and therefore, so is she. Duality be damned.