When you think you’ve overcome dualistic thinking, you probably haven’t.
When you get to the place where there is no good and evil, no self and other, and when you are able see these things as judgments and illusions – you will very likely reject the old reality you used to live in where these things actually existed. In your new reality, none of these things are real, there are no opposites, nothing is separate, and all things come and return to the same source and are part of one unified whole. Hurray! You have overcome dualistic thinking.
However, to the extent you are now firmly rooted in this non-dualistic experience of reality, you have actually engaged in a different type of dualistic thinking. Just as you used to believe something is either good or evil, self or other, it can’t be neither or both at the same time; now, in your apparently “enlightened” non-dual state of observation, you are, in fact, on one side of a new and more subtle “either/or” proposition – reality is either dualistic or non-dualistic, it can’t be neither or both at the same time.
Now that I am pointing this out to you, you may immediately recognize that how you think about duality sounds a lot like how you used to think about any number of false dualities you have seen through in order to come this far on the path. The good news then, is that since you’ve already learned how to transcend these types of dualistic thought patterns, and since you are gaining greater facility in embracing paradox (Chapter 3), it should be fairly easy for you now to move forward into a deeper form of non-dualism, one which actually embraces dualistic reality as part of the complete and unified whole. And, from that level of realization a lot of good things can happen.
First, you won’t hide behind the non-dual lens and use it as anesthesia to avoid the pain and suffering of the dualistic layer of reality. You can visit Oneness without getting stuck there or having to stay there for the wrong reasons. In your broader experience of reality, you can avoid falling into the trap of letting evil deeds and wrongdoing continue to go on around you, all the while consoling yourself by escaping into some fantasy world where good and evil do not exist, doing nothing to change what is happening in “the real world” around you.
Furthermore, when you occupy a reality that has space for dualistic and non-dualistic realities co-existing as part of a richer, more complete whole, you can move freely between these worlds as necessary and as it serves your highest good and the highest good of all beings. Over time you can gain increasing skill in living in both of these seemingly contradictory layers of reality at the same time. And, to the extent that moving into Oneness gives you strength, is part of your healing process and helps you clear out blocks and negative karma – to the extent this is true, then when you operate in the more mundane reality of good and evil and self and other, you will be able to be a more powerful and effective agent in accomplishing good deeds.
You can engage in this level of reality without getting so caught up in the drama of it. For example, you will be able to engage wrongdoers with compassion. Whether it is the real estate developer destroying the local environment, the political leader utilizing misinformation and scare tactics to support a morally repugnant agenda, a nation engaged in human rights abuses, or whoever else the wrongdoer might be – you can recognize yourself in them, recognize your shared origins and destiny. You can battle their pathologies and delusion, their ignorance – not them – compassionately battle on behalf of them actually, making every effort to bring their light to the surface, even while taking action to protect yourself and others from their unconscious behaviors, from their darkness. You can engage them either directly in physical reality and/or indirectly through the world of spirit, and whichever avenue you take, you are able to move away from old dualistic mindsets that have led to so much physical and spiritual violence and destruction, so much unnecessary physical and emotional suffering, for so many thousands of years. You can move away from paradigms of destroying the other and conquering the enemy.
You are no longer in the dualistic illusion that these types of behavior somehow solve problems, somehow serve you – the illusion that the enemy is actually out there, separate from you and not part of you. You recognize that much of the battle is actually inside, that you must heal your own wounding so you are not acting out your own wounds, your own karma, and making the situation worse in spite of your best intentions. At some point you may recognize that there is actually no battle anymore, no need to struggle anymore. You can effortlessly bring about meaningful change in your outside world simply by going more deeply into the light within, by dissolving out your own darkness and wounds you are seeing reflected around you in other people who are not actually other or separate. You can draw forth their light by going more deeply into your light because you understand on one level that it is the same light. You realize that not only is there no battle and no struggle, there is actually no enemy either.
By shifting your perspective and being able to stay centered in non-dualistic reality even as you navigate ordinary reality and take actions to draw forth more good and justice in the “real world” – you can be a powerful force of change, a peaceful warrior of light, helping bring about transformations that break deep karmic patterns for you and everyone involved, transformations that pull you and all of us further forward on the path of progress. Your transcendent experiences and perception of non-duality actually empower you and make you more effective when you choose to work to effect change in everyday, ordinary reality – and this is a very good thing for you and everyone else.