He said/she said... progressive/conservative... rich/poor... friend/foe...like/dislike... opposites make the world go round. At the core of all contraries is the perception that You are separate from Me. Personal squabbles, political battles, economic competitions, holy wars and every other conflict arise from dividing the world into Self and Other. In this separateness, we see both danger and delight—danger that Other will harm Self and delight in the possibility that Self will be enhanced by Other.
These differences, however, do not separate us. Self and Other are intimate partners in each step of living. Every detail is divided into opposites: light has its shadow, good its bad, beauty its ugliness. "You can't have one without the other." Despite the connections between Self and Other, the apparent divisions drive us crazy. The Other just won't cooperate with the Self's agenda for what it believes is right, healthy or loving. So Self enacts all sorts of strategies to pull Other under its control. But every rule, commandment, design and dominating tactic only clarifies the lines appearing to separate Self from Other.
What Self misses is that division is an archetypal pattern. It allows the oneness of consciousness to experience expressed possibilities. Without Self and Other, life would be an amorphous, soup-less soup. The overlapping circles of Self and Other is a primal structure that allows no-thing to breathe as everything. The trouble isn't the framework of Self and Other. Problems stem from seeing their relationship as a personal dispute rather than a cosmic dance. This doesn't mean to get falsely Kumbaya about the differences. It means to stop futile complaints against an essential structure of life and connect with the energy generated from the interaction. It means to discover the strengths the dynamic reveals and act from the field of possibilities broader than personal gains and losses.
So, the next time that irksome Other person, political party, or religion doesn't dance to your particular tune, try stepping through the dispute into the dance of consciousness cavorting with itself. Hear the music to which Self and Other are dancing. Enter the wider, subtler and more intricate symphony to which the archetypal twins are already swaying.
Learn more about the dynamic of Self & Other in my new book 24 PATTERNS OF WISDOM: Navigating the Challenges and Awakenings of the Human Journey by clicking here.