A Dilemma


Call it a paradox, contradiction, misleading, whatever. Things have a way of confusing us. What one sees as real, often appears as a reality in a different, if not opposing light, to someone else. My literature teacher at school was fond of repeating the story of the two men that looked out of the prison bars; one saw slush and the other stars. This story seemed to have sunk into the sub-conscious, to surface periodically in conversations, without any meaningful significance. The recent history of the middle east was given a fillip when I began to view the contestants’ intransience in this light. A chance to see each other’s point of view might be more sobering for those genuinely intent on ending this contest.

Recently, I have been suffering from depression and anxiety attacks. While I am on prescribed medication, I still have not been able to control the oppressive thought patterns that intrude on normal interactions and situations. Then, “Eureka”, it struck me. Is this what the Jesuits call the “Two Voices”? The Ying and the Yang, the darkness and pure light, inherent goodness and badness, that are all-embracing; indeed, two sides of the same object. Herein lies the efficacy of Discernment.  I can choose to see people and conversations as corrosive and destructive, or, like the saints see the goodness in everything. If it exists, it is an act of God. A God, who I believe, is all goodness, merciful and loving. It is unconceivable that He should cause anything bad for me. It is in the nature of things that they are both good and bad. God does not make them so – He only creates, despite Himself, with love and in perfection.  As Shakespeare somewhere writes, “Nothing is thus or thus, only thinking makes it so”.  It is, therefore, in our minds that we see things as good and bad. Hurricanes, earthquakes, wars; catastrophes both natural and acts by humans could then become objects of contemplation and transformation.