A student approached his teacher and complained, “Teacher, I have an ungovernable temper. How can I cure it?”
“You have something very strange”, replied the teacher. “Let me see what you have.”
“Just now I can’t show it to you”, replied the student.
“When can you show it to me?” asked the teacher.
“It arises unexpectedly” answered the student.
“Then”, concluded the teacher, “it must not be your own true nature. If it were you could show it to me at any time. When you were born you did not have it, and your parents did not give it to you. Think that over.”
If the student wasn’t born with his temper, and it’s not his true nature, then where do both his normal state and his angry state, which is to say his duality, come from? Duality is as common in human nature as man’s longing for oneness, the difference being that where oneness is a spiritual instinct over which we have literally no control, two-ness is more of a viral psychology. We can try to avoid catching it, and we can control how bad it gets, but if we don’t make the conscious effort to battle it, it will consume us.
The historical examples of human duality are endless. In modern pop culture The Hulk makes for a perfect example. He’s a calm, intelligent man who, once angered, transforms into an all-destroying, unstoppable beast. When the Hulk he has almost no resemblance to his other self, nor does he recognise or respect his other self. Barring his DNA, he is by all accounts a different person.
Then there is the 1930′s horror tale of a seemingly psychopathic individual with two extreme personalities – Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Dr Jekyll is a calm, sympathetic character, capable of loving and of being loved. His extreme counter, Mr Hyde, is a highly unsympathetic nutcase who would readily take joy from hurting those closest to him. At the pinnacle of the film Dr Jekyll, speaking of the evil Mr Hyde as if he were another person, promises his love Muriel, who is fearing for her safety, that she will never have to worry about Mr Hyde again. This is a significant moment as Dr Jekyll recognises the existence of Mr Hyde and believes he has control over him, but is neither convincing to himself nor the viewer.
So are these quintessential examples of duality one person, or are they two? If Dr Jekyll is in fact two people then how can he be living in one body? If he is one person, then why does he have two personalities? As extreme and seemingly fictional as these examples may seem, we see their scaled-down versions in each and every moment of our lives, within us and around us. At our jobs we each tend to have one persona, and at the supermarket another, and at home yet another. We find comfort in behaving a certain way in certain situations. But why do we do it, how does it effect us psychologically and spiritually, and which one is the real you?
It is said that there is a tenth of an inch between heaven and hell. This is to say that there is only a small space between our toned-down dualistic lives and that of a full-blown schizophrenic. After all what is a schizophrenic other than someone who has allowed their duality (their multiple personalities) to get out of control? Trying to rectify their spiritual imbalance, we as a society give them drugs so as to counteract what seems like a series of chemical imbalances in their brain. Ultimately the real reason that drugs help is to do with their physiological, as opposed to their physiological, effects on people. A schizophrenic who takes a constantly supply of medication loses their duality and finds one doped-up personality – and we consider it better to have one broken personality than two. This is also why, when they stop taking the drugs, they return to their schizophrenic selves. The doped-up version of them is gone, and the original duality returns to the fray. Nothing has been done to resolve the duality.
To further evidentiate the point one need only look at the extreme opposite. We all love a story about a man or woman who, when faced with an extreme crises, never loses their cool and deals with things like a smooth cat. Hence why the people we tend to admire most – often religious figures, successful leaders, our bosses, or our grandparents – all tend to have a calmness about them. You feel that you know them well and their stability is comforting. This is because they tend to display one personality at all times, as opposed to the duality that effects the rest of us. These people seem to have the oneness we all long for.
Happiness in life can never be achieved through duality. Celebrities, when in public, flaunt the personality they want you to see, yet in private they almost always have a different self. Is it any surprise that Hollywood is so morally reprehensible? It is a community rich in duality, spiritually confusion and unhappiness. Yet, while celebrities look to quench their need for oneness through drugs, parties and other morally and spiritually questionable activities, at home in a quite neighbourhood sits a woman, always one with herself, humble and loving, tucking her children in to bed. This woman is truly happy for she is who she is.
Money, material possessions, drugs, alcohol and doctors can not make us happy. To be happy we must remove the duality that pollutes our lives. Like the student we must each find our true nature and live our lives as whole people. Happy, and One.