Friday, December 16, 2011

The Dance of Opposition Within Us

When we begin to awaken to the light of the soul, life takes on a new depth. The losses we have suffered, the delight and peace we have experienced, the beauty we have known, all things belong together in a profound way. One of the greatest treasures in the world is a contented heart. When we befriend the twilight side of the heart, we discover a surer tranquility where the darkness and the brightness of our lives dwell together. We gain the courage to search out where the real thresholds in life are, the vital frontiers, the parts of our life that we have not yet experienced. Beyond work, survival, relationships, even family, we become aware of our profound duty to our own life. Like the farmer in spring, we turn over a new furrow in the unlived field. We awaken our passion to live and are no longer afraid of the unknown, for even the darkest night has a core of twilight. We recover within us some of the native integrity that wild places enjoy outside. We learn to befriend our complexity and see the dance of opposition within us not as a negative or destructive thing but as an invitation to a creative adventure. The true beauty of a person glimmers like a slow twilight where the full force of each color comes alive and yet blends with the others to create a new light. A person's beauty is sophisticated and sacred and is far beyond image, appearance or personality.  - John O'Donohue, "Beauty: The Invisible Embrace"

2 Nephi 2:11 says that there must be opposition in ALL things.  "All things" would include the Church, would it not? It also would include opposition within each individual member.

Perhaps the lack of struggle we crave so much isn't a good thing in the long run - or even possible. Perhaps learning to be at peace with external AND internal opposition is one of the great liberators of the Gospel ("Good News") - the idea that the inherent turmoil that "must needs be" is unavoidable and reconciled ("atoned for") already in the eternal scheme of things. 

In that light, a good friend of mine once wrote:

We devour the beautiful and enticing fruit from the Tree of Knowledge. It is no longer on the tree, shining in appearance. Have we destroyed it? No. We took it inside ourselves. We digest it, and it is assimilated into our being, into every cell. The experience is described as the assimilation of opposites. In order to truly live, we must also die. In order to have joy, we must weep. It's a tension of opposites that plays out like a fractal diagram expanding, creating a life experience. We can fear this. We can find beauty and wonderment in it.

I say we are on a hero's adventure, not sitting in a study hall taking a pass/fail proficiency exam.


Paul said...

Papa D, very intriguing thoughts. Thanks. No question there is opposition within each of us -- the tension between the natural man and what we are to become is very real (for me, at least!).

I'm interested in the idea of oppositoin within the church. Would that suggest that there is opposition within the Godhead? Within the leadership? Within the membership? I can't completely wrap my head around that idea, yet, and where the opposition lies.

Papa D said...

Those are great questions, Paul, and I don't "know" the answers - but I can speculate. lol

1) "Would that suggest that there is opposition within the Godhead?"

There is a reading of the War in Heaven story that intrigues me, even though it is "out there" more than just a bit. It looks at Lucifer's title of "a Son of the Morning" and renders it "one of the leading, 'elder' sons of God". I think that such a construct is not in opposition to our traditional theology in any way, but it leads to interesting questions - especially since "the Godhead" as we understand it was constituted fully after Jehovah stepped forward and agreed to be the Father's "loyal" representative for His children. Was Jehovah always a member of the Godhead? Was Lucifer part of a "presiding quorum" or some sort in the pre-mortal life? Did Lucifer "fall" before we "fell" - into a world in which he could say, reasonably, "I am the God of this world?"

It seems like, perhaps, with great power comes great responsibility, as the saying goes - so maybe there can be a "council of the gods" (or more than one) separate from a "Godhead" (a presiding three Gods over the council(s) of the gods. Maybe, in that way, there can be "opposition" even among the "gods" - outside of those who become, eventually, Gods.

I don't know, but I can't rule out the possibility, given the rest of our theology and the possibilities I can envision within it.

2) "Within the leadership?"

Absolutely - and I see no other reasonable conclusion, given what we know about our own modern prophets and apostles AND the leaders described in all of our canonized scriptures.

3) "Within the membership?"

Yes, without question - "until we all come to . . . unity."

One last thing:

"Differences" and even "disagreements" don't have to be "opposition". They can be fused into a grand symphony of multiple harmonies and counter-melodies that create a masterpiece - or they can be played as competing solo parts.