Chuck’s Place: Positively Negative

Sometimes life is defined, balanced, black and white... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Sometimes life is defined, balanced, black and white…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

We live in a world of polarities. We come into life; we die. You can’t have one without the other; they are opposite sides of the same coin. To obtain the full value of that two-sided coin we must integrate both of its sides, positive and negative. By merging this seeming opposition into its true wholeness we allow fulfillment in this life and at death, as we seek to continue resolved of this life.

If we consider being positive as seeing the good qualities, the brighter side of life, we can see how a positive attitude invites openness, joining and expansion in our life decisions. Conversely, if we see being negative as a focus on the bad qualities of someone or something, we can see how a negative attitude helps us to create sharp boundaries and separateness, conservatively generating protection from the potential ill-effects of contact beyond the self.

In effect, positive moves us toward greater union, negative maintains protective boundaries. From this perspective we can appreciate both positive and negative as necessary attitudes to regulate and navigate life.

If I am to remain open to new life, be it through a relationship, experience or opportunity, I must be able to see the potential good in all of these situations. On the other hand, if I am to properly protect myself I must be open to seeing the predatory and dangerous potential in all encounters with living beings and life’s offerings.

Successful navigation of life necessitates the ability to integrate both negative and positive perspectives. We are all bipolar beings who must find the right balance of positive and negative perspectives. Bipolar disorder is actually a failure to find a constructive integration of these bipolar attitudes.

In deep inner work we seek to integrate the opposites... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
In deep inner work we seek to integrate the opposites…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

In extreme cases we see a lack of corrective balance between poles where an individual clings too rigidly to one pole or another. For example, an extreme attachment to the positive pole can lead to such expansiveness that one gives up sleeping, hits the casinos and exhausts a life’s savings on a whim, seeing no need for limitation.

At the other extreme, over-attachment to the negative pole can lead to such a deep sense of futility in engaging in life that one might sink into a suicidal depression. In actuality, bipolar disorder leads to powerful mood swings. Eventually, the clinging to one pole exhausts into the opposite side, be it from negative to positive or visa-versa.

We live in a time where negativity and cynicism dominate. On one level this is an honest reaction to the expansive one-sided attitude of wealth and capital that sees no need for limitation, sharing, or protection of the environment.

However, when negativity is overly dominant it tends to generate a feeling of powerlessness, with little energy left to make any effort toward positive change. While we need to respect the truths that the negative perspective reveals, we must also be mindful of becoming too polarized to this extreme, which can lead to inertia and indifference.

On the other hand, sometimes depression is necessary, as life as it has been lived must be halted while we go inward to find the seeds of new positive life. Seedlings require care and attention, as does bringing new parts of the self into life. This is not the time of rapid expansion indicative of a dominantly positive attitude.

In our wholeness we become centered, light and dark in balance... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
In our wholeness we become centered, light and dark in balance…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

Even in the midst of a depression, however, I generally suggest remaining positively negative. That is, to hold onto the positive knowing that even a depression is but a stage in the birth of new life with its eventual return to expansiveness that in due time will recede and acquiesce to even newer life, as we take our ever-evolving journey.

On that infinite journey,

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