Numbers Archives

 

guard_the_time

 

Door. Door. Door.

Wherever you go, there is a door.
To open. To close. Or to go through.
Sometimes to pass by too.

You can hit the door.
You can break the door.
Or you can pretend that there is no door.

The door is however there, whether you like it or not.

There is a path leading to the Door. There is the Door. There is a path behind the Door.

There is the Old World. There is The Door. There is the New World.

Door is the threshold experience

There are three actions you can take at the Door:

Action #1

You can patiently wait at the Door in hope it will be opened for you. You believe that there is somebody behind the Door who will know when you want to enter.

It may happen of course, but it is unlikely. Such a passive waiting will put you at the mercy of external circumstances, which is ineffective, to say at least. It may take a long time before the Door opens or perhaps it will never happen.

(Digression: Note however that active waiting is a different story. It is a process in which you make yourself familiar with the Door and gain understanding what the Door is about. In such a process you consciously prepare yourself for what awaits for you behind the Door. In other words, you make yourself ready to enter.)

Action #2

You can turn back and investigate tricks or ways to get to the world behind the Door. Perhaps there is a way through a window from outside, a hidden corridor from the other side, or another door. Finding a shortcut or roundabout may work well in some cases, but in the majority of cases, the Door is there for you. On purpose.

It is your Door and there is something for you to learn from the experience of going through this Door. If you neglect the Door, skip it or replace it with another door, chances are high that you will come back to the same door. It may be the same door but it may also be another door with the same purpose.

Action # 3

You can approach the Door, go through it and step confidently on the path that will show before you. This is of course not necessarily easy but the most beneficial approach. Why? The door is a door on your path so going through it will only enrich your life experience and help you to grow faster.

***

So, if you think about the action at the Door, make yourself ready to go through it.

Doors are everywhere

You wake up in the morning and you enter the conscious world. Door.
You get up and leave your room. Door.
You enter the bathroom. Door.
You leave the bathroom. Door.
You enter the kitchen to prepare breakfast. Door.
You open/close the fridge. Door.
You go and wake up kids. Door.

Door. Door. Door.

You leave for work in the morning. Door.
You enter your car or a bus. Door.
You arrive at your work. Door. Door. Door.
And then you go to other rooms, meeting places or buildings. And you pass doors.

Doors. Doors. Doors.

You enter cafes, cars, buses, trams, rooms, buildings or lifts. Doors.

Doors. Doors. Doors.

Then you return home. Door. Door.
And there are more doors. Doors. Doors.
You enter the bathroom. Door.
You come to your bedroom. Door.
And you fall asleep and enter the dream world. Door.

The final Door.

Door is a metaphor

Door is a metaphor for any threshold experience.

Door is a moment in which you hit the water surface at the swimming pool on a hot day, after you jumped. There is this sharp, deeply penetrating experience of cold water overwhelming your body. And there is the world of magical floating in the water.

Door is your first driving lesson that will lead you towards a new independence. It is the moment in which you start the engine, hold the wheel and feel the car move. You drive it!

Door is the decision to start volunteering as a helper with handicapped children. And there is this amazing moment when you open yourself to communicate through means you have never thought were possible.

Door is the conversation you will have with your beloved one to tell her that your relation has come to an end. And there is this moment in which you can both reflect on the greatness of the relation and depart in peace.

Door is the meeting with your boss to tell him that you are quitting your job to start own business. And this is the moment in which you finally grasp that there is no way to live by setting to lower standards that you want to live.

Door is the talk with your parents to tell them you are leaving home for a job abroad. And this is the moment in which you open up for new experiences.

Yes, door is the threshold.

Three steps of consciousness

You make your preparations in the Old World for what awaits you behind the Door. The Door is a sharp moment of self-consciousness where the learnings from the Old World and the hopes and ambitions for the New World meet and entangle.

At the Door you are already in the process leading from the past to the future, from ideas to actions or from actions to tangible results.

The Door is the crossing point and it matters now how you enter the New World. You can use the Door as the moment of summoning your confidence and remembering your intent for what awaits you behind the Door.

And the story about the Door is an excuse to tell you that there are three basic steps in consciousness. Preparation before the Door, the threshold experience at the Door and the embracing of the path the begins on the other side of the Door.

Three steps of consciousness: Preparation. The Door. New Path.

Observe these three steps and practise them with intent.

Be awake when you walk through a door. Pay attention. Focus. Embrace the path that opens up.

***

Top photo courtesy Jose Luis Mieza Photography,  available under the Creative Commons license on Flickr. The image in the text shows a painting of the remarkable Chester cathedral. I made it some years ago when a number of paintings were collected there.

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pendulum_rhythm

Up and Down.
Left and Right.
Forward and Backward.

Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.
An everlasting swing between the two opposite patterns.

Rhythm.
The basic principle that governs our lives.
Yes. Rhythm.

Not only is the existence of two opposites important, but also the act of moving between them. We can experience a flow between Day and Night, Inbreath and Outbreath, Giving and Receiving, or Rise and Fall.

Have you ever wondered why you need some rest after a hard work?
Exactly. This is the principle of rhythm.

The principle of rhythm

You cannot go against it even if you try hard. Pushing too much towards one polarity will ultimately force you to go back to the other one, whether you want it or not.This time, however, perhaps under less favorable circumstances than you would like to experience.

For instance, you can work hard for months, or even years, juggling multiple projects and responsibilities, while skilfully balancing on the edge of depletion. But when you don’t regularly incorporate the necessary rest, it will be forced upon you. You will become ill.

Have you ever wondered why politicians, sportsmen, CEOs of the companies, singers or actors rise high up to only collapse soon after?

Indeed, for any great success, there is a great failure. If there is a rise, there is a fall. And oftentimes the rise you observe at the life of others follows the falls you haven’t. Simply because they were not brought to your attention.

The principle of rhythm governs the working of our universe. You cannot simply avoid that. And neglecting this principle or pretending it does not exist, is not going to help either.  The swing is always at work.

The measure of the swing to the left is the measure of the swing to the right

Let us consider an imaginary pendulum. Since symmetry is a natural phenomenon, the pendulum swings between the two opposites in the same degree. So, the swing of a pendulum in one direction determines the swing in the opposite one. And this is metaphorically reflected on all levels of your life, including your mental states.

The higher your ambition, the bigger your challenges and failures.
The greater fear you have, the greater courage you can summon.
The more you give, the more you will receive.
The greater your experience of joy, the greater your capability of feeling sadness.
The more understanding you have, the better realization of how little it is.

And so on.

Cycles

All the phenomena we observe and participate in are governed by cycles. We function in an amazingly orchestrated mechanisms of cycles. These include cycles nested over cycles, even at a deep level. Proper timing becomes essential for making all these cycles work.

For example, we have a cycle of birth, growth, adulthood, maturity, late maturity and death. And within this cycle we may consider a cycle of 7-year development stages, but other cycles are possible as well. Then we have yearly cycles of changing seasons as well as weekly and daily cycles. In addition, there are cycles of our personal and spiritual development, work-related development or about the roles we take into the society, not even mentioning similar cycles for our family members or friends.

All these moderate and high-level cycles rely on the basic rhythm. This is the everlasting swing of ups and downs, lefts and rights, or forwards and backwards. The potent swing between polarities. (Or in an analogy that suggests itself, it is the binary number and the freedom of choice between 0 and 1 that enables us to build more and more complex structures and complicated computer programs.)

Going with the rhythm

The existence of such a rhythm suggests that the best strategy is to become conscious of it and use it intelligently in your life. The key understanding here is the act of balancing between the two sides. No matter which direction you choose and how far you go, you know that you will need to turn back and swing towards the opposite.

Going with the rhythm is the phrase here. Think of the rhythm as of a strong current in the river (of life). The most effortless way to swim in this river is to be either pushed or carried by the current instead of fighting it. This leads you towards the practice of wise men – taking an optimized action with respect to the journey – by paying attention and carefully observing the rhythm.

So instead of being led by circumstances that will accommodate the pull in the opposite direction for you, you act consciously. You are prepared.

This means that in any direction you are currently going, you have already planned and prepared for the movement in the opposite one.

You basically optimize the tasks which coincide well with the benefits of the given polarity, but you still view them from a perspective of the complete system of polarities. By paying attention you will notice the moment in which the pendulum approaches the threshold so that you may begin adopting your actions and strategies accordingly.

For instance, you maximize your work schedules and collect successes when you have a strong wind behind your back, while  you restore, energize and re-structure when the decline comes. For sure lean years will follow the fat ones.

You don’t push for success in the Down-movement or party extensively during the lean years, but you collect your learning points, reflect upon them and draw conclusions. Then you plan your strategies for the Up-movement or plant seeds for the fat years to come.

Understand first

People who fall drastically simply don’t understand this principle. They are the ignorant ones who push far beyond the limits as if they could have risen forever. Or they are the ignorant ones who sit in the depression pit while contemplating the fall as if the circumstances could have gone adversary forever. Nothing further from the truth.

When the fall is on a horizon or lean years ahead, neither the drastic experience of the fall nor famine are necessary. You can perfectly accommodate for the fall and diminish its effects to minimum simply by being prepared (beforehand) and by taking care of what is needed to be done in such times.

Swing, swing, swing

Let the swing become a conscious act of balancing in your life.

Work when you feel passionate and energetic. Rest when you are tired.
Collect your successes when on rise. Restore and energize when the decline comes.
Make your key decisions when you feel positive and joyful. Avoid them when depressed or sad.
Give willingly and receive with gratitude.
Buy stuff and get rid of stuff.
Teach what you learn. Learn what you are going to teach.

Follow the rhythm.
Prepare. Pay attention. Optimize your acts.
You will master your life by mastering the swing from one opposite to the other.

***

Photo by Misko13, available under the Creative Commons license on Flickr.

 

In our world for a thing that exists, also its opposite exists. This holds for qualities, concepts and physical things.

So we have, Day and Night, Black and White, Inflow and Outflow, High-tide and Low-tide, Rise and Fall, Up and Down, Inside and Outside, Spiritual and Material, Tall and Short, Dumb and Smart or Dirty and Clean. And we have all the degrees of variety between the opposites.

This sounds obvious you may say. Nothing new here.

But it goes further on.
There are opposite perspectives to every challenge.
There are opposite views to every problem.
There are opposite lenses to every solution.

And it is up to us to learn from multiple views and incorporate partial knowledge into a whole.

The principle of polarity is basic in our lives.

Polarities

We live between polarities. We live between Morning and Evening, Summer and Winter, Love and Hatred, Passion and Indifference, Giving and Receiving, Joyful and Sad, Simple and Complex, Cold and Hot, Inbreath and Outbreath and so on. In all walks of life we define ourselves somewhere between the opposites.

The key understanding is that the opposites are merely the same concept but vary (perhaps even hugely) in degree.

Light and Darkness describe the level of clarity / visibility on the two ends.
Dumb and Smart measure intelligence on the two ends.
Joy and Sadness express the level of happiness on the two ends.
Cold and Hot measure temperature on both ends.
Rise and Fall reflect the vertical direction of movement.
Fear and Courage describe the level of (in)ability to endure or continue in face of adversity.

Even more, opposites are identical in nature but vary in degree.

As a result, the opposites and everything in between are expressions originating from the same nature or the same concept.

Equivalence classes

Abusing somewhat the formalism of set theory, we will assign the expressions of the same nature (as defined by the two opposites) to a single equivalence class.  Given a set of elements (say concepts, notions and physical things) an equivalence relation is a binary relation (i.e. between two elements) that partitions the set into cells such that every element of the set belongs to only one cell and each two cells are disjoint. The cells are called equivalence classes.

E.g., we can define an equivalence relation E as =, i.e. ‘equal to‘. So, we will write that x is in relation E with y, that is x E y, if x = y. In this context, 1 defines an equivalence class consisting of all individual objects you can think of, an apple a book, a stick, a ring, a wall, etc. So we have,  [1] = { {apple}, {book}, {table}, {car},…} and many more. Then 2 defines an equivalence class consisting of all the pairs, say [2] = { {apple,apple}, {book,apple}, {apple,table}, {table,car},{apple,pear},…}. And so on.

As an another example let us consider a set of tables. We can define an equivalence relation E on this set as ‘is of a given color’. Then all tables can be partitioned into equivalence classes such as [green-tables], [yellow-tables], etc. You get the point.

We use equivalence classes in daily life. Even if you are visiting a tribe whose language is alien to you, you can make yourself understood. In order to communicate, say 2, you can show your two fingers, or present two sticks, two bars or two bears. It doesn’t matter what you choose to refer to as long as you keep pointing to two elements. It works because we all have learnt the concept of 2, that is, its equivalence class.

Opposites-driven equivalence classes

Coming back to the nature beneath the opposites, we will define the equivalence relation as T :=  ‘can be transformed into’. So x T y, or written differently, T(x)=y, means that x can be transformed into y.

An example equivalence class is [Intelligence], where both Dumb and Smart belong to the [Intelligence] class and, obviously, a dumb person can become smarter, T(Dumb) = Smart(er)[Deep affection] is another equivalence class where T(Dislike) = Like or T(Hatred) = Love. Or, finally, [Intricacy] is an equivalence class in which T(Simple) = Complex or the other way around.

Transmutation

The consequence of the above is paramount. We can transform one polarity into another by raising / lowering consciousness or changing the degree of involvement appropriately.

It means that you can transform one thing into another as long as you stay within the same equivalence class. That is, Fear can be transformed into Courage, Hot into Cold, and Darkness into Light. But Love cannot become Tall, Blue or East simply because Love and the other qualities belong to different classes. Love, however, can become Like, Dislike or Hatred, instead.

Knowing that the opposites are two extreme expressions of the same nature and by understanding and embracing one opposite, you will learn how to master the other one.

You become Courageous by embracing Fear. You start to shine Light if you tame Darkness inside yourself. You begin to Rise if you have learned from a Fall. You gain Peace of mind by transforming your Anger. You become Holy by consciously recognizing your Sin.

In all this, the essence lies in becoming conscious about your own power to transform or transmute one polarity into another.

What is the consequence of all this?

If you struggle with a quality that you are unhappy with or which is holding you back, you need to first understand the nature (i.e. equivalence class) beneath this aspect.

Let’s say you are fearful to make a change. Since you know what fear is, your task now is to move to the other spectrum by changing the degree of your ability to face unknown.

It starts by accepting your fear and learning from it. By learning how fear serves you, you will learn about courage. Then you follow your conscious thoughts and feelings and keep taking conscious action. By doing so, fear is shown in different aspects. And by such new exposures, a part of fear is willing to explore the other side.

A transformation follows in the same way as you would approach muscle training. You start easy and you keep growing by handling progressive difficulties. In all this you know that courage is there for you. It is not an absence of fear but fear transmuted consciously towards the other polarity so that action is possible.

Fight not, transmute instead

We often choose to fight a problem, or reject what we are unhappy with. Such strategies are hardly effective and usually bring nothing more than tons of frustration. If you choose to fight a quality or aspect of yourself, let it be your disorganization, your shyness, your lying, your fear of moving forward or your anger, you will be fighting a part of yourself. This very act will make you sabotage a profound change to happen. You cannot fight yourself, reject yourself or hate yourself and still make a significant progress in your life. So you will end up running in circles or being stuck.

Transmutation is the key.

It is a process that starts with acceptance, followed by conscious thoughts and actions towards an inner transformation. Keep it this way. It is simple.

Attraction

Coming back to the original question.

Do opposites attract?

In a sense they do, as they tightly define the two extreme borders of the same thing. We perceive the attraction merely as the recognition of the direction in which we feel pulled to develop.

If your attraction is present, it is a sign of your consciousness being ready. It’s a high time to trasmute your qualities into the ones you wish to have.