For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my firstborn in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility. 2 Nephi 2:11
Is Peace the absence of opposition?
Can one experience peace in the midst of opposition? In other words, if one accepts opposition as the unavoidable state of our existence, can one be at peace with that? Would that be called stoicism?
If opposition implies duality, which implies choice, is opposition always the result of duality, or free will?
Is opposition necessary in order to be able to exercise choice?
If so, are we then trapped by this idea that there must be opposition in all things, leaving us no choice but to exist in a state of comparison, contention, and conflict?
So, is it possible to experience peace as part of an existence where duality, or opposition, is the rule?
Are we free to choose not to recognize opposition?
Can we have unity, or oneness, amidst duality, or opposition?
My head is swimming. Why?
Because Nephi’s statement, and its implications, seem to be in opposition to God being “I AM”, and with Christ inviting us to come to Him, theoretically in unity, in oneness? (John 17 – the intercessory prayer – the whole chapter). How does this fit in with the concept of redemption being defined as our being rescued from, or ascending beyond, the effects of the fall / tree of knowledge / dualism / opposition?
How can I realize my own “I AM”, and partake of the fruit of the Tree of Life, which is the love of God, which love “Just is”, if I continue exist in a state of opposition in order to not “…remain(s) as dead, having no life neither death…”; in order to be alive?
This seems like a pretty major contradiction.
Moving on down a related rabbit hole…
If, as most of us believe, the purpose of the atonement is the forgiveness of all sins, should that not relieve us of guilt? Should it not relieve the other guy of guilt, too? And is the atonement not available to all of us, if we will just realize it? And are any of us justified in thinking that, just because the other guy doesn’t understand this, that their guilt still exists in reality, their incorrect perception aside, while ours doesn’t?
No, if we believe in the atonement, however that took place, we must reject the idea of guilt – not only for ourselves, but for others as well. And we can never reject the idea of guilt for ourselves if we don’t reject our perception of guilt in others, too. If we perceive guilt in others, we will be incapable of shedding guilt in ourselves. This was a huge revelation for me this week.
If we continue to feel guilt, then we have not fully accepted the atonement; we do not truly believe in Christ. If we have not accepted the atonement, we will continue to be separated from Christ, living in a state of sin. This is why it has been said that we cannot be saved individually – but we must all be saved together or not at all. It doesn’t matter if the other guy doesn’t know he’s been saved. We know it.
Why did I choose to switch my focus to guilt? Because guilt is the result of us knowing that we have made a “wrong” choice. We could not be making wrong choices if we did not exist in a state of opposition. And, according to traditional belief or common wisdom, guilt is a good thing. It helps keep us “righteous”. It helps us avoid “wickedness”. However, as I have maintained before, guilt is the result of fear – fear of punishment, fear of disappointing, fear of falling short, even betraying the other person – and ultimately Christ. And we all know that there is no fear in love. So – we can’t exist WITH Christ, and He in us, if we entertain, even relish guilt as a good thing. Guilt is not a good thing!
Back to the above question…
Can I experience peace if I exist in a state of opposition?
How about if we interpret the atonement this way…the atonement is the promise, or the paving of the way, for us to live without guilt, without opposition, without fear, if we choose to…if we just believe. What if the at-one-ment truly is the promise, that this is our true state; that each of us is destined to partake of the fruit of the tree of life, regardless of the choices we make when faced with the illusion of duality, or opposition?
Am I saying there is no sin, that there is no good and evil? Am I saying that our ability to discern between good and evil (love vs. the lack of love) is unimportant? No, I am not. I am suggesting, however, that, because of the atonement, the ultimate result of our choices is manifest in who we choose to be, not in some final judgment or punishment or eternal damnation, imposed an authority that does not exist. After all, “authority is a poor substitute for power, and the only true power is love”
Lest the importance of this be lost in our mist of duality and opposition, let me emphasize that, in the eyes of God, we are all guiltless. This means that if we are to perceive ourselves as God sees us, we must be able to perceive ourselves as guiltless. Paul had this to say in 1 Corinthians 13:
Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
And, as I already said above, if I am to perceive myself as guiltless; if I am to “know even also as I am know”, I must see others as guiltless. Even if I discern that my choices, or someone else’s choices, fall into the evil category; even if I discern that I am, or someone is, acting without love, I can never forget that, in the eyes of God, all who are within the protective circle of the atonement, which includes all of us, all men are equal – equally guiltless, equally forgiven…equally loved. There simply are no exceptions.
There is no loved vs. not loved. There is no saved vs. not saved. There is no duality, no opposition in God. If we are to be one with Him, can there be opposition in us? Can we conclude, then, that the idea that there must be “opposition in all things” is perhaps truth in one sphere (D&C 93), but not in another? Could we further conclude that, if we are to ascend from our fallen state; if we are to realize our individual redemption from the fall; if we are to fulfill the measure of our creation; if we are ever to experience Zion, we should probably start trying to figure out what the truth really is in this other sphere. After all, clearly that is the sphere in which God exists – a sphere in which there is no opposition, for there clearly is no opposition in “I AM”. There is no “not love” in love. And not only do we need to figure out what this “higher” truth is, but we need to figure out how we can experience that truth, become that truth…exist in that truth.
Can I experience peace if I exist in a state of opposition?
I don’t think I should answer this for anyone but myself. After all, my answer does you no good; no good at all.
In closing, I experienced years ago the phenomenon that, in a classroom or teaching situation, no one learns more than the teacher, and that, if one wants to learn something, one need only teach it. I propose that this is a greater truth than we realize. I propose that we are what we teach. We become what we teach. Truth, or love, after all, is nothing if it is not shared.