The world’s attention for a brief moment has veered from the assault on the Ukrainian people to the slap heard around the world. Everywhere I look, people are talking about it, people taking sides, are you “Team Smith” or “Team Rock?” I honestly think this was a relatively minor incident compared with the major global atrocities that border this story in my newsfeed, however, it has been an interesting example of how dualistic we’ve become. For most there is the right way and the wrong way (though most of us don’t seem to agree on which is which). But is there a true right and wrong? The answer, ironically, is yes and no.
Here’s the “no” part…
Right and wrong, black and white, male and female, us and them–these are all polarizations based on a way of thinking that is based on the number two. This binary way of seeing existence has caused a great deal of suffering to a lot of people throughout the centuries. It creates a sense of “other” and this “othering” is what allows people to do harm to others or their environment. There is no room for subtlety in a dualistic world. “If you are not with me, you’re against me. And if you’re against me, you are a threat.” So much violence comes from this perspective.
Much of this dualistic thinking originates in the idea that God is separate from us. There is God and “not God” which becomes the battle of good and evil. The Vedas take a different view and that view is not based on 2 but 3, specifically 3 in 1. There is the one indivisible whole consciousness field that breaks down into threes as it moves into manifestation.
There are many examples of threes in the Vedas, one of which is the mechanism of evolution we call the creation cycle: Creation, Maintenance and Destruction. It’s not that creation is “right or good” and destruction is “wrong or evil,” they are both serving evolution and are dependent on one another. And there’s that other one in there: Maintenance. This is the grey to the black and white. When you add that third element, now you have infinite shades of nuance introduced into any situation. Context becomes important, what’s right in one situation may not be right in another. Hard boundaries dissolve into gradations, including the boundary between right and wrong.
Here’s the “yes” part…
While there may not be an absolute right or wrong, nature is not neutral. There is moving with or against nature. Nature itself doesn’t really care in the same way a river doesn’t care if you swim with or against the current. You the swimmer, however, will have a very different experience depending on which way you choose to go.
Everything is evolving at all times. To the extent we roll with it, we get taken for a frictionless ride. To the extent we resist, we get dragged along accumulating bumps and bruises along the way. But you may be thinking, “there’s still right and wrong because it’s right to move with nature and wrong to move against, right?” It’s best not to think of it in terms of right or wrong because even when we move against nature and get a major lesson in return, like a health crisis or a big loss, we often look back on those lessons as the best thing that ever happened to us as these were catalysts to growth. All this moving with and against the current is what makes for a fascinating ride. Taking the movement out of life would be like taking all the conflict out of all the movies you’ve ever watched or books you’ve ever read. It would be tremendously boring.
The Vedas break down time in terms of “yugas,” or eras. These also refer to consciousness states. In Treta Yuga (Treta referring to “three”), Dharma (which means action aligned with nature) is said to be like a bull standing on three legs, it’s stable and secure. In Dwapara Yuga (which means two) the bull is now standing on two legs, ready to fall over at any point. (Technically, we are not even in Dwapara Yuga now but in Kali Yuga in which the Dharma bull only has one leg so there’s that.)
Meditation takes our awareness to that place in our own consciousness where everything is one, so when we come out of meditation, we perceive not only the extremes but all the shades of in-between.
When we see the world in twos, it is very hard to act in accordance with nature, like a bull on two legs. We try so hard to be “right,” (or at least convince others we are), but the very perspective itself is limited. When we see the world in threes, suddenly it all pops into dimension. It’s all grey and it’s all Self.
And if I were to be Team anyone from this year’s Oscars, it would be Team Gaga.
Adrian loves superheros, but I never liked how everyone in those stories is
either a good guy or a bad guy.