Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tension of the Opposites (Repost)

Black or white. Black and white ... not gray. Opposites.
What's right? What's wrong? What's true?

My new friend Diane started me thinking about contradictions and that made me think of the quantum physicist Niels Bohr who once said:
"The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth."

My friend Emily calls it the "Tension of the Opposites" and says insight and creativity come when we can hold those opposites, one in each hand, and be patient with the tension between them until something new emerges. Included below is her painting of this mystical process.

But, holding that tension, allowing two profound truths to exist in our minds at the same time is not easy. We can think "black" or "white" or we can mush them together into gray but it's very hard to hold them separately and allow both to be "right." And, yet, isn't that what the very process of existence is? The tension between birth and death is what we walk through daily. Today we are alive but we know the day will come when we will not be. We're either here or not here ... or is there something in between? Something that's left, still alive, still active in the world after we're gone.

Perhaps that something is what we call our legacy. Whether it's our children, our works or just the joy we've shared along the way. We touch others and make a small, or sometimes large, impression on their lives. And, in that touching we live on. Our spirit continues to exist in the world and as the people we have touched touch others, we ripple out in a continuous spiral.

Recently I visited the Enchanted Circle Pottery Gallery in Taos and spent a couple of wonderful hours with Kevin and Jo Dekeuster who are amazing potters. Over Jo's workspace hung a quote from Gandhi:

"We all die. The goal isn't to live forever; the goal is to create something that will."

That just about says it all.

Tension of the Opposites by Emily Meek

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