I’ve spent my life fascinated with opposites. Perhaps this is because I was born early on Jan.1st facing the old year and the new at the same time, like Janus. Opposites are so basic to our thinking and yet often seem to change into each other as described in Taoism or Enanteodromia (the Greek way of opposites). For me it’s about how they are arranged. …one above the other as in hierarchies which is problematic, or dancing horizontally which feels better.

Today the concept of non-dualism is very fashionable in many spiritual circles and is often bandied around without much thought. It is used in a whole variety of different ways, from the oneness of spirit to the post modern concern with the limitations of dualistic/binary thinking eg. re: gender- Judith Butler etc. Some even argue that we need to go ‘beyond’ right and left politics as if there is no important difference between them! Others want to get away from anything being ‘anti’ anything else. From the peace movement to the academies non dualism has ruled. Meanwhile the political left has declined dramatically.   Could one even argue that it was the post modern philosophers of the 20th Century that killed it off??

While I can see rationally that these are 2 different kinds of categories. Non dualism is largely about spiritual experience and a perception of interconnectedness. While politics is about manifestations in everyday life. But personally I still struggle with the contradictions of believing passionately in leftist ideals of equality etc. and being non dualist. Can I hold the apparent opposites of taking sides and connecting to a non-dual reality at the same time? One way of thinking would put the non-dual as ABOVE the opposites. But isn’t that rather hierarchical? Perhaps being ‘in the flow between them’ or ‘both and neither’ would be a better way of putting it. Can protesting on the streets also be an honouring of the non-dual, great spirit or even the flow? Many of us have used spiritual techniques such as meditation and ritual as part of our activism. But are there deeper questions too?

Is there even a ‘natural'(dangerous word) link between leftist politics and the non-dual? The right certainly believe in a ‘natural’ link between their politics and their hierarchical God, of whatever religion. For the left I wonder if there is an equalizing ‘force’ or ‘hidden order’ in the universe??? After all mathematicians use EQUAtions which rely on equalising at their heart, to understand the world better.

As the US elections are more and more clearly between the right and the left (the centre left to be exact) these kinds of issues might be debated more. Can there be a left wing spirituality? Some would say that it is a contradiction in terms, but as William Blake wrote ‘Without contraries no progression’. However perhaps today we need these particular apparent opposites to dance together more than ever. With recessions come nationalisms, the rise of right wing ideologies, fundamentalisms of all religions and even groups using pagan energies/symbols for right wing purposes. How do we conteract this from a spiritual as well as rational perspective????
One of many ways is linking with like minded people. I have just started a new group in London to explore and practice left wing spirituality/deep equality. For more info see. http://www.serpentinstitute.com Join us if you can, or comment by clicking on the title above.