The Battle of the Opposites Within the Mind
“The foundation of the ‘I’ is the dualism of the mind. The ‘I’ is sustained by the battle of the opposites. All thinking is founded on the battle of the opposites.”
“Happiness and sadness; pleasure and pain; good and evil; victory and defeat, constitute the battle of the opposites on which the ‘I’ is founded.”
~ Samael Aun Weor
The battle of the opposites is a very important teaching from esoteric psychology, and on which Samael expanded upon in his own teachings.
The mind is an incredible instrument that we have; it gives us potential to think, plan, and organize our lives in the way that other species cannot, however at the same time it is also a great obstacle to spiritual progress.
An ordinary human mind that most of us start any deeper form of spiritual work with is very limited in its scope and potential, and it is prone to attracting and keeping thought-forms beyond our control. In Gnosis we refer to this form of mind as the lunar mind, or the lunar mental body. It is referred to as “lunar” because of the quality of its energies, whereas the solar mental body (acquired on the path to liberation) is comprised of much better energy and substance, and with it we are also able to have more control over our thinking process. This type of higher mind helps us to achieve the final goal. However, before this solar body arrives, it is necessary to learn how to deal with the lunar type of mind; to learn how to have control over it.
When we start working on ourselves psychologically, we will eventually discover that the mind is not an easy thing to control. This is due to enormous amount of random thoughts that people are used to having every day, throughout their lives. When we start the inner work, we are overwhelmed with such bombardment of thoughts. We see them, but we cannot do much about it, at least not in the beginning. But as we continue observing our thoughts in a detached manner, when we eliminate those random and subconsciously sparked thoughts, by so doing we wake up our consciousness steadily and continuously. Eventually we observe decrease in thoughts that pass through our mind, and increased ability to be in the present moment, centered in consciousness.
In this early work, as we work on ourselves psychologically, on our thoughts, emotions etc., we become more and more conscious of various thought patterns, how they appear in certain situations with intention to put us back to psychological sleep, back to daydreaming. One of such major issue that we observe is a tendency of egos to battle between themselves. As egos are so closely related to foundation of dualism, we experience what is referred to as the battle of the opposites.
“All thinking is founded on the battle of the opposites. If we say: so and so is tall, we want to say that he is not short. If we say that we are entering, we want to say that we are not exiting. If we say that we are happy, with that we affirm that we are not sad, etc.” ~ Samael Aun Weor
The “I”, the ego, latches onto that dualistic foundation of existence, and creates an obstacle when we want to find a solution to a problem. For example, we may find ourselves in a situation where we do not want to see a person that invited us for a meeting, and yet because we once made a promise to that person that we will meet them, we experience conflict within ourselves. We experience this battle of the opposites – the ego that has aversion towards meeting that person, and another ego that feels obliged to meet them, that feels that it needs to fulfil a promise that we once made. However, the problem to this solution will not be found pondering or weighing options, because the mind itself is very limited and biased when it comes to finding the best solution to a problem.
Like Samael said:
“The problems of life are nothing but mental forms with two poles: one positive and the other negative. Problems are sustained by the mind and are created by the mind. When we stop thinking on a problem, the latter inevitably ends.”
In life we encounter situations that need to be dealt with, however the most important thing is to see the situation while being centered in consciousness, rather than in the mind. When we look at the situation from the mind, we are limited to the past scenarios and judgments thereof because the mind looks for solution in memory, and the way our memory is shaped is based on how we perceived and comprehended those past situations of life, which often time tend to be self-centered and subjective. That’s why observing the situation from the state of being in consciousness is often time much better. This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t draw from memory if needed, but rather using it consciously, from the state of being in consciousness. There is a reason why many people use meditation when they need to make an important decision, because in meditation consciousness is more active while the mind is quiet, therefore enabling us to see the situation more objectively.
But we don’t always have to enter meditation to reach such a state of clarity; we can also achieve it by being present in the here and how, outside of the mind and the thinking process. The latter inevitably takes us into dualistic struggle, whereas by being in consciousness, grounded in the present moment, we are in the state of unity, of oneness, open for the new and seeing things in a more holistic and objective way.
Samael Aun Weor described this very well when he said:
“We need to free ourselves of the tyranny of the opposites; this is only possible by learning to live from instant to instant without abstractions of any type, without dreams, without fantasies.
Comprehend that I am talking to you about the path of action, free of the painful battle of the opposites. Action without distractions, without evasions, without fantasies, without abstractions of any kind.”
“When the doors are closed to fantasy, the organ of intuition is awakened.”
“Action, free of the battle of the opposites, is intuitive action, full action; where there is plenitude, the I is absent.
Intuitive action leads us by the hand to the awakening of consciousness. Let us work and rest happily abandoning ourselves to the course of life.
Let us exhaust the turbid and rotten water of habitual thinking and in the emptiness will flow Gnosis and with it the happiness of living.”
There was an interesting example of a battle between egos. So, when the second ego is forcing our imaginery person to meet another certain person without really wanting it but only because of a promise given, why would that be a voice of an ego? Keeping one’s word is a dharmic way of living.
Nikki, here the point is not about keeping one’s word, but rather how egos latch onto that and enforce the battle of the opposites. When the egos battle within the mind, they put an illusionary perception on our eyes and we see through their glasses. They dig up many reasons for and against meeting the person, and mishmash it into their own way of presenting it to us.
I find for myself that often time it is much better to act from consciousness, outside of that stream of thoughts that weigh options and intensely dig in memory. When I look at it from that state, I see and understand that I made a promise, but I also see other things too, and can then make a much better and objective decision.
Thank you for replying! I completely understand your point. I would agree that a voice which is protesting against meeting a person would most certainly be of an ego, the voice which made that promise against one’s own will would also probably be of an ego. But the voice which is asking you to keep the promise is most likely not of an ego, but a requirement of one’s Manas. So, in your example I see a battle of two egos, but of a different kind from your depiction, and a trace of one’s soul, to put it simply.
Yes, in that example the conscience can also have its say, and it often time does dispite a loud inner conflict (battle of the opposites). This voice of conscience would be heard even more clearly and strongly when we are centered in consciousness, outside of the mind.
Thank you! If I may also add, there would be an interesting plot twist. A person established in consciousness would never insist on fullfiling a promise from another one, free will would be honoured. In case the first person is able to communicate that openly, of course. But I suppose this would be a rare occurrence today. Maybe another topic for you to explore…