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Alone Together

I have written of polarities. I describe the notion as an arc simply because I like a curve's softness more than a line's directness. The imagery is of no matter. Polarities at first look are opposites, positive and negative, hard and soft, light or dark. These oppositional poles may be just ways to bookend the infinite gradations in between. Or, as we see too often in life and history, they can become oppositional camps, extreme positions separated by an unacknowledged void, territory to be taken. This is mine, not yours!

This is mine, not yours, is the view of polarity that ignites wars. This view bears its fangs in a divorce proceeding, a property dispute, arms negotiations, and treaty talks. Mine, not yours, and one draws a thick black line.

Let's return to the imagery. Is the thick black line an empty plain that exists solely as a whole? Is there nothing between St. Louis and Santa Fe but nada, zilch, zippo! Is it civilization versus barbarism, the modern versus the primitive, white or pink or gray versus tan, black or brown? Opposites are polar. Everything in-between is potentially a compromise.

While polarities are most often seen as opposites, they can also be mutually beneficial. My wife and I are opposites in many ways. I am a nerdy, studious nit-picky guy. While detail-oriented (she's an editor by profession), she sees a broader, more superficial view of things more straightforward than I do. I am volatile and sometimes unyielding. She's calmer, more accepting, yet still firm.

Simply, suppose one is negotiating from one polarity.

In that case, there can be no negotiation without someone from the other sitting at the table. The negotiation begins with at least that mutuality. Polar opposites are invariably complimentary in some way. With a hard black line, conflict is emphasized. With a curved line, compromise is highlighted. The latter is like the bricks of an arch. Each brick is placed in direct and firm opposition to the other. Yet, the strong opposition allows the arch to stand. Such arches have stood for eons and are considered architectural masterpieces.

To be, or not to be. For a human, that is the BIG question. How do you know you BE or are? The most acute answer is, I BREATHE. Breathe in. Breathe out. I am alive. No breath, I am not. Breathing in and breathing out is one complete breath of life.

Alone and together are two ways of living. It's a polarity. In my life, I have mostly been a solitary person. Its advantages have been mostly practical self-reliance. Its disadvantages have been a lack of collaboration, a lack of comrades, or friends. While I work and play well with others, close friends are few. A polarity: Is that good or bad? It is hard to say. It's an arc of polarity.

My few close friends are very close. Acquaintances are less close. I am very close to myself. Meditators strive to be close to themselves. They strive to perceive "the still point of their turning world."[1]

Meditators move outward from there. Establish the still point—anchor to it. All else proceeds from the still point—one full breath at a time.

Breathe in, you meditate. Breathe out, you love. Rinse. Repeat.

Breathe in. You take in the world and all that is within yourself. Observe. Become aware of that which is aware.

See. Feel. Observe.

Breathe out, you love. You regard the world and all that is without yourself as worth acknowledging and loving. I am. You are. I am. You, BE. I, BE. Breathe in. Breathe out.

The world can be an ugly place. Learning to be alone with yourself is a worthy beginning. Projecting meditative love is an excellent place to start. Carrying that contemplative love into the world, into action, is also good. "From a still place to the Marketplace" is a principle and a mantra to us at

Enter space, supportless, eternal, still.

"Oh beloved, put attention neither on pleasure nor on pain, but between these." [2]

"Sweet-hearted one, meditate on knowing and not-knowing, existing and not-existing. Then leave both aside that you may be." [3]

[1] T.S. Eliot "Four Quartets"

[2] Osho. The Book of Secrets (p. 614). Osho International. Kindle Edition.

[3] Osho. (p. 1283). Kindle Edition.

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