Believing in duality has made my life so much easier. There are many times when I’ve had two conflicting ideas, thoughts, or emotions about something and stayed awake into the wee hours of the night trying to rectify them. Now, I can rest easy realizing that I can have my cake and eat it, too.
I was recently at the eye doctor’s for a routine check up. I payed extra for the special photo they take of the back or inside of my eye because I hadn’t had it done for a couple years. I was talking to my doctor about my desire for LASIK eye surgery, so that I wouldn’t have to worry about contacts and glasses anymore and could actually SEE the stars when I’m camping. But all that was lost when my doctor started rambling about something different with my pictures, fumbling around on the computer for pictures of “healthy eyes” to compare to mine, and keeping the whole conversation in this strange tone that felt like we might be discussing scrap-booking.
I finally realized what she was getting at when she said, “I’m going to refer you to a neurologist so you can rule out an intracranial mass.” Um, excuse me? One minute we’re chatting like it’s a stitch-and-bitch, and the next you’re telling me that I might have a brain tumor? Before I could really stop to think about what that meant, she prattled on about something else, so I hid any fear as I tried on new, “fashionable” frames since the possibility of a mass in my brain was enough to put off LASIK dreams for a while.
The next day, I went to school and told my wonderful Ayurvedic teacher that I hadn’t in fact done my homework, and instead had gone out to the pub for beer and dinner after receiving the news. She looked at me and said, “Anna, that’s a crappy situation and I hope that you can realize the duality that first, whatever it is, you’re going to be fine. And second, it’s okay to be scared shitless.”
Having that permission was like seeing doors of golden light open up around me. I knew then that I could take the time to cry and be afraid and ask my husband to hold me at night. But that I could also do everything in my power to strengthen my mental healing resolve, because after all, all disease begins in the mind. So after my fits of fear and loathing, I wrote affirmations and taped them all around my house. I also chanted and prayed, and acknowledged any fear-based thought with a new, positive affirmation about my ability to heal and be whole.
And then I started to observe my thoughts more closely. It’s amazing what you can begin to hear if you really pay attention. I heard a thought that I realized had been playing in the background of my mind for years, but I’d never acknowledged the thought because of how selfish and morbid it is. On a drive home one day, I heard myself think, “You know, if you had brain cancer, people would pay attention to you.” Whoa, WHAT??? I thought back to myself. Where did that come from? And then I remembered back to when I was a little girl, six or seven years old, and my poor little sister was diagnosed with leukemia. It was awful for her — chemo and spinal taps and the whole works, yet I was jealous because of how many stuffed animals she got, and flowers, and cards, and love and attention. And I wanted that too.
I’m 29 years old and my six-year-old self is still trying to get her way by playing her thoughts in the back of my mind. Now that’s a duality for you: The “right now” me wants to be healthy and to gently live her life, but the six-year-old me wants to have some sort of disease so I can make up for the attention I failed to receive while my sister was ill. (BTW, she’s a healthy and happy 26 year old today!).
So, the moral of the story is that duality exists. You can love your parents but want to kill them for screwing you up so bad. You can love a company for how green and righteous it is, but think the person in charge is a douche bag. You can have two conflicting things that don’t reconcile themselves and still live a life of integrity.
I’m having my brain scanned tomorrow. I’ll keep you posted, but don’t worry, I’m healthy, healed, and whole, and whatever happens, I’ll be just fine.