Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Dualistic vs. Non-Dualistic Thinking

Most people see things as either/or. Things or people are seen as good or bad, right or wrong, black or white, liberal or conservative, successful or unsuccessful, attractive or unattractive, and on and on. People tend to walk around and consciously or unconsciously make judgments. We all do this. This type of thinking is called dualistic thinking. Imagine a day where you don’t do this. Imagine a day where you don’t see life as either/or but rather both/and. This type of thinking is called non-dualistic thinking. It is non-judgmental. I also like to think of it as walking the middle path. When one walks the middle path, and ceases to judge everything as good or bad, you experience a oneness with all of life rather than a separation from parts of it. There’s a common phrase that simplifies this. I’m sure you’ve heard people say “It is what it is”. It’s a phrase I tend to overuse but I like it. I admit that it is sometimes challenging for me to make a decision because I can usually see both sides of an issue. Because of my desire to walk the middle path and to be a non-dualistic thinker, I try to find an answer in the middle of conflicting opinions. This seems to be a lost art in modern day politics. No one seems willing to compromise and meet in the middle. Always seeing everything as either/or, and never being willing to compromise and meet in the middle, gets us nothing but gridlock and standoffs. When everyone is holding their ground no one can move ahead.

10 comments:

ric said...

All too often I hear people saying "it is what it is" in a fatalistic voice. I prefer "we begin from here". That may not make finding the middle path any easier, but it a determination to move forward with the effort.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Ric. I appreciate your words - they are very helpful for me and timely in my life right now.

Anonymous said...

That was really helpful and well-put. I'm trying to work through why in many American Evangelical churches has dualistic thinking right at its heart. I think it is because the Bible talks about believers/unbelievers...wheat/tare...you're with us or against us/...biblical language seems to clearly be dualistic. But at these types of churches people have felt cold, cerebral, rigid and unloving....I'm trying to figure out where I stand..non-dualistic is really appealing to me and I've personally found it so helpful as I grow slowly spiritually.

Rahul said...

Wonderful dfinition! I love the simplicity in the way you explained it!

lee woo said...

There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so. See the link below for more info.


#thinking
www.ufgop.org

El Rey said...

People to be secure and be centered, you need a starting place, why not nondaulistic, open minded, see things with a new eye, new perspective. You come to see that the openness lets you walk through everyday life a little easier, less burdenned, it is worth a try. Gives you time to think and see and enjoy, life. Peace El Rey

Scott Lutz said...

If taking the middle road means doing all I can to compromise to reach an agreement that respects all opinions, I am all for it. I have to say that I draw the line when it comes to good and evil. There is without doubt evil in this world. I cannot meet evil and offer it respect. I have to take the side of good, which is love. That is why we are told to love our enemies and want the best for them, yer we reject their evil acts. I want to be non dualistic in my thinking, yet I still see good and evil on two sides.

Anonymous said...

Once you learn to look at life non-dualistically, you really can't take sides any longer. Yes! We are able to see the other viewpoints. People are complex and nobody can be really pigeonholed into any one category. You really cannot cling to a political ideology either. You see the good and bad in both and in yourself as well.

Anonymous said...

I find that very helpful . I have been reading about the concept for some time and though difficult to change I recon in time even an oil tanker can turn ...!
Many thanks

George

Aslay Sin said...

Perhaps it is better understood as a state of Self rather than a state of no self. It should be understood however, that the Self is not a "state". non dual thinking