Peace, Born of the Tension of Opposites

As my attention has been focused on PEACE through this Peace Project, I notice that everything that is “not peace” (e.g. violence, intolerance, war, injustice, hate, etc.) also captures my attention.  I consider myself to be a fairly open-minded, tolerant, somewhat progressive person who lives by my principles (not perfectly, but I aspire to do so as much as possible).  Well, I have an uncomfortable confession to make . . . . . Some of the “not peace” I have been noticing is not only “out there”, in other people and other places . . . . . . It’s “in here”, inside myself and in my own community.

This morning, a commentator came on TV to give his perspective (presented as FACT) about the alleged perpetrator of a recent act of violence.  “I HATE that guy” were the first words out of my mouth on this 12th day of my Peace Project.  Those words carry an energy of violence, not of peace.  I felt that violent energy inside myself. 

Carl Jung said, “The repressed content [of the mind] must be made conscious so as to produce a tension of opposites, without which no forward movement is possible. . . . . . just as high always longs for low and hot for cold, so all consciousness, perhaps without being aware of it, seeks its unconscious opposite, lacking which it is doomed to stagnation, congestion, and ossification. Life is born only of the spark of opposites” (in The Problem of the Attitude-Type).

In another paper, Jung stated ” . . . After violent oscillations at the beginning the opposites equalize one another, and gradually a new attitude develops . . .  The greater the tension between the pairs of opposites, the greater will be the energy that comes from them . . . [and] the less chance is there of subsequent disturbances  . . . ”  (In On Psychic Energy).

According to the New York Association for Analytical Psychology (NYAAP), “Jung further believed that anyone who attempts to deal with the problem of the opposites on a personal level is making a significant contribution toward world peace.”

“Life is a series of pulls back and forth.You want to do one thing, but you are bound to do something else. Something hurts you, yet you know it shouldn’t. You take certain things for granted, even when you know you should never take anything for granted. A tension of opposites, like a pull on a rubber band. And most of us live somewhere in the middle. You could describe life like a wrestling match. So which side wins?  Love wins. Love always wins.” — Morrie in Tuesday with Morrie, by Mitch Albom

If I want to move towards peace, I have to continue noticing and wrestling with the anti-peace demons within myself.  We’ll see what energy emerges from my process of holding the tension of opposites and what is born of that energy . . . . Peace? . . . . Love? . . . . Hopefully! 

What opposites are you wrestling with inside yourself?

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1 Response to Peace, Born of the Tension of Opposites

  1. There are so many ways that I get pulled- internally and externally. Life can feel like it is on the ‘right’ path and then can take an unexpected turn so fast- it feels like whiplash. The body that you are in, the life that you are living- both can feel like they do not fit and you question ‘how did I get here?’. The tension of opposites is so very powerful; I am working on bringing them together- every day they come closer (and of course there are those days when I take a few steps back but ultimately the space between is decreasing). Much love and peace to you my dear friend.

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