The Calculus of Opposites – Spiritual unfoldment takes place through experience of such opposites

[A related topic to Sanskaras that gives a clear perspective opposites and their balancing, presented in a short series to take the message in short ‘doses’-Admin,]

Spiritual unfoldment takes place through experience of such opposites as pleasure and pain, success and failure, virtue and vice. Both extremes are equally necessary for the fulfillment of life although they appear to be direct opposites of each other. In fact, from a larger point of view, the opposites of experience turn out to be complementaries rather than contraries. They appear to be clashing incompatibles only for the mind that cannot transcend them. They are like diametrically opposite points on the circumference of a circle. If you pursue any point on the circumference, the path through it will necessarily lead to its diametrically opposite point. And the path from this opposite point again returns to the starting point. Movement between the opposites is as endless as movement in a circle.

The law of opposites does not imply an exact mathematical polarity. Opposites are not antipodes with point-to-point contrariety in every detail. Take for example the first air pilots who experienced failure and death in their undertakings. This failure cannot be said to be the exact opposite of their previous success in flying, for they never had any success in flying. Of what then is it the opposite? These first air pilots may have experienced success in some similar endeavor of a slightly different type, and their failure in flying (culminating in death) is the qualitative opposite of that experience of success.

The opposites of failure and success need each other. There can be no success unless there is failure; and it is equally true that there can be no failure unless there is success. If one has never succeeded in a particular thing, it is meaningless to style such attempts or their results as failure. In
the same way, success is success only if there have been prior failures, either by that particular person or by others who tried in the same field.

Success and failure are generally measured, appreciated or suffered more in relation to what has been achieved in the same field by others, than in relation to a target which has been hit or missed. If it is usual for any person to do a particular thing, the doing of it is not to be regarded as a success, although it is success in the sense that what was planned has been achieved. In every worldly sphere there is bad, worse and worst, as well as good, better and best. There is a conscious or unconscious racing with each other, as well as a perception of that which is beyond all racing. It is out of this racing that success or failure arises.

-Beams, p54

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