By Ken Wilber
A selected excerptation
The result of such violence, although known by many other names, is simply unhappiness. Life becomes suffering, full of battles. But all our battles in our experience - our conflicts, anxieties, sufferings, and despairs - are created by the boundaries we misguidingly throw around our experience.
For the general reader, then, this book will provide a personal introduction to the major methods of growth and transformation--from egoic to humanistic to transpersonal--and will show how these approaches are related to each other.
Have you ever wondered why life comes in opposites? Why everything you value is one of a pair of opposites? Why all decisions are between opposites? Why all desires are based on opposites?
Notice that all spatial and directional dimensions are opposites: up vs. down, inside vs. outside, high vs., low, long vs. short, North vs. South, big vs. small, here vs. there, top vs. bottom, left vs.. right. And notice that all things we consider serious and important are one pole of a pair of opposites: good vs. evil, life vs. death, pleasure vs. pain, God vs. Satan, freedom vs. bondage.
So, also, our social and esthetic values are always put in terms of opposites: success vs. failure, beautiful vs. ugly, strong vs. weak, intelligent vs. stupid. Even our highest abstractions rest on opposites. Logic, for instance, is concerned with the true vs. the false, epistemology, with appearance vs. reality, ontology, with being vs. non-being. Our world seems to be a massive collection of opposites.
Every decision we make, our every action, our every word is based on the construction, conscious or unconscious, of boundaries.
The peculiar thing about a boundary is that, however complex and rarefied it might be, it actually marks off nothing but an inside and an outside., For example, we can draw the very simplest form of a boundary line as a circle, and see that it discloses an inside versus an outside. But notice that the opposites on inside vs.. outside didn't exist in themselves until we drew the boundary on the circle. It is the boundary line which creates a pair of opposites, in short, to draw boundaries is to manufacture opposites... And the world of opposites is world of conflict.
Now our habitual way of trying to solve these problems is to attempt to eradicate one of the opposites. We handle the problem of good vs. evil by trying to exterminate evil. We handle the problem of life vs death by trying to hide death under symbolic immortalities. In philosophy we handle conceptual opposites by dismissing one of the poles or trying to reduce it to the other. The point is that we always tend to treat the boundary as real and then manipulate the opposites created by the boundary.
The goal of separating the opposites and then clinging to or pursuing the positive halves seems to be a distinguishing characteristic of progressive Western civilization - its religion, science, medicine and industry.
The opposites might indeed be as different as night and day, but the essential point is that without night we would not even be able to recognize something called day. To destroy the negative is, at the same time, to destroy all possibilities of enjoying the positive. Thus, the more we succeed in this adventure of progress, the more we actually fail, and hence the more acute becomes our sense of total frustration. The root of the whole difficulty is our tendency to view the opposites as irreconcilable, as totally set apart and divorced from one another. Even the simplest of opposites, such as buying versus selling, are viewed as two different and separate events. Now it is true that buying and selling are in some sense different, but they are also - and this is the point- completely inseparable.
The inner unity of opposites is hardly an idea confined to mystics, Eastern or Western. If say we look to modern physics, the field in which Western intellect had made its greatest advances, what we find is another version of reality as a union of opposites. In relativity theory, for example, the old opposites of rest vs. motion have become totally indistinguishable, that is, "each is both".An object which is in motion for one observer is, at the same time, at rest for a different observer. Likewise, the split between wave and particle vanishes into "wavicles. and the contrast between structure vs. function evaporates. Even the age-old separation of mass from energy had fallen to Einstein's E=mc2, and these ancient "opposites" are now viewed as merely two aspects of one reality.
Modern physics, in short, proclaims that reality can only be considered a union of opposites. Thus, as Whitehead puts it, each element of the universe is "a vibratory ebb and flow of an underlying energy or activity."
That all opposites - such as mass and energy, subject and object, life and death - are so much each other that they are perfectly inseparable, still strikes most of us as hard to believe. But this is only because we accept as real the boundary line between the opposites. To put it plainly, to say that "ultimate reality is a unity of opposites" is actually to say that in ultimate reality there are no boundaries. Anywhere. For boundary lines, of any type, are never found in the real world itself, but only in the imagination of the mapmakers.
As Korzybski and the general semanticists have pointed out, our words, symbols, signs, and thoughts and ideas are merely maps of reality, not reality itself, because "the map is not the territory." The word "water" won't satisfy your thirst. But we live in the world of maps and words as if it were the real world. And these illusory boundaries, with the opposites they create, have become our impassioned battles.
The point is not to separate the opposites and make "positive progress," but rather to unify and harmonize the opposites, both positive and negative, by discovering a ground which transcends and encompasses them both. And that ground, as we will soon see, is unity consciousness itself.
The ultimate metaphysical secret, if we dare state it so simply is that there are no boundaries in the universe. Boundaries are illusions, products not of reality, but of the way we map and edit reality. And while it is fine to map out the territory, it is fatal to confuse the two. Initially this sounds very strange, because we are so used to believing in boundaries. Thus, the sole aim of the Eastern (and esoteric Western) ways of liberation is to deliver people from the conflicts and complexities of the battles by delivering them from their boundaries. They do not try to solve the battle in its own terms, for that is as impossible as washing off blood with blood,"
To disclose reality as non-boundary is thus to disclose all conflicts as illusory. Unity consciousness is the simple awareness of the real territory of no-boundary...Unity consciousness, in short, is non-boundary awareness.
"You are That. Your real self is identical to the ultimate Energy of which all things in the universe are a manifestation."
We have identified ourselves with our body, mind and personality, imagining these objects to constitute our real "self." and we then spend our entire lives to defend, protect, and prolong what is just an illusion.