Are There Two Dualities?

 Castor and Pollux, the Gemini twins, represent one form of human duality- the lived and unlived parts of our lives.

Castor and Pollux, the Gemini twins, represent one form of human duality- the lived and unlived parts of our lives.

Yesterday I wrote that to be able to teach the Enneagram well, you have to be able to describe the human condition in your own words, like what are the hallmark sufferings and glories of being human?  In terms of the suffering part, I thought, that was obvious- it's duality, but then my next question was, "what kind of duality am I talking about?"

Because I'm reading two books right now and they each talk about a different fundamental duality that causes an inordinate amount of human suffering.  The first book is about the law of three by Gurdjieffian student, Cynthia Bourgeault.  If you know the Enneagram, you probably know what the law of three entails- it's represented by the triangle in the enneagram symbol.  The triangle is the symbol we turn to when we're caught in impossible situations and experience the pulling into two different impossible or unfavorable directions because all our dualistic human minds can see is those two options.  It takes a third force, mid-wifed by meditation or a mindful approach to the situation, to be able to see the entrance to the highest point on the triangle and to enter into a higher level of consciousness and find a graceful and previously unavailable solution.  I've posted this video several times before, but it provides a good description of the duality of the human mind. 

This duality is painful because we are very often caught in impossible situations.  For example, I moved to a bigger place in April, and all I want to do is spend, spend, spend on new furniture.  I'm itching to spend.  I know exactly what will go where, I've measured everything, and I've found where to buy everything- all I need to do is be prepared to drop a few thousand dollars that I don't have right now.  Neither situation is desirable- having empty space where I know the most sensual, delicious, well-made furniture could go (what if I have company over and they see that I don't have furniture to fill the whole place??  How embarassing.)  And the other option is to go into debt, which I'm not prepared to do.  But I have this incredible craving that sucks up a lot of my free time.  I'll look up from the computer and realize I've been online shopping for hours.  Just browsing, but try to find some way to justify the spending.  So when I meditate, I take that pull with me and hold the tension in my inbreath and outbreath and notice where the tension is in my body.  The neutralizing effect of the meditation will eventually open up a new "dimension" where a solution will appear.  It better!  I'm counting on it!!

The second suffering is this duality outlined in this other book I'm reading.  Living Your Unlived Life by Robert A. Johnson.  He's describing his version of the problem of duality through the Gemini twins in Greek Mythology- Castor and Pollux.  Castor and Pollux are brothers who do everything together, but one is mortal and the other is immortal.  In a fight where they're defending their sister Helen against an Athenian kidnapper, Castor dies, and is cast down to Hades, the underworld.  His immortal brother is inconsolable and begs his father, Zeus, to figure out how the two brothers can be together again.  I'm at the part now where Pollux decides to go down to Hades to try and rescue his brother, and thus, says Johnson, we need to go down into our unconscious, and rescue its dark contents, and integrate them into our conscious life.  The split between our conscious selves and our unconscious selves is the hallmark of human development- there is joy in the unity that the two selves experience in childhood, but as we grow, there is an inevitable split in consciousness- and one life becomes lived and the other life is unlived.  This could be any unreached potential that goes down to the shadows of Hades, the practical careers we chose over the dreams we really wanted to pursue, having children instead of going to school (or going to school instead of having children), it's whatever remains unlived in us, and by the time we reach middle age, we start to long for integration of our shadow contents into our consciousness. 

So for example, I've spent a lot of my life in entry-level jobs because when I come home from work, I collapse into the heart space which is where I want to spend all my time, just noodling around in my internal world, or doing creative things, planning the lay-out of my future home, or even developping my intellect.  Now that I'm a certain age, I'm wanting to move up and make more money, but to do that, I need to get into my gut space- the centre of action, but because that is such unpracticed space for me, it takes a lot of work to get into that frame of mind. 

A lot- if not all- of our unlived life has to do with not having all three centres, or all three "brains" in balance.  We all over-depend on one brain to lead us forward- our head, our heart, or our gut- to the detriment of an underutilized brain- and as Needleman (and Gurdjieff) say, we are only fully human beings when the three brains are talking to each other.  When we're firing on all three cylinders, our thinking, feeling, and doing are working in concert together to get where we want to go in life, and we won't be clumsily and awkwardly fumbling forward.

So those are two dualities that cause suffering.  Are they in fact the same thing, only on different planes or something?  Or are they two different ideas?  I'm sure they're similar in some regard, but if you have any ideas as to how, I'm interested to hear.