What Do You Do... When All Hell Breaks Loose?
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Have you ever made a decision to improve something in your life, and then just the opposite happens?
Why does a desire to change for the better sometimes lead to the walls crashing down?
I’m talking about the kind of situation where you vow to be more conscientious at work, but during the following week you make twice as many mistakes as usual. Or, you make up your mind to pay off your credit card balance by the end of the year, and a week later your car breaks down and you have to use the VISA to pay for it. Or perhaps you decide to be nicer to your girlfriend, but she becomes more irritated with you than before! Sometimes these negative manifestations come in bunches, one after the other. Why does your decision to change for the better lead to crummy outcomes? It feels like a kickback from the universe into your life, a slap in the face, and it makes a joke out of the maxim that ‘you create your own reality.’ I call this phenomenon, ‘all hell breaking loose.’
When this happened to me, I assigned my misfortunes to bad luck. Or I’d say, “that’s the way life is,” or “It’s my karma.” Sometimes I was told ”you didn’t work hard enough,” or, “you’re not talented enough.” None of these explanations, however, clarify how or why I went wrong.
We can simply accept these excuses, but then the story is over. What I have done in the past is to simply give up on my positive resolution and accept my fate.
I have discovered, I think, the reason for this phenomenon. When you know why something is occurring, the mystery goes away and you can then deal with it, instead of giving up!
In order to explain why all hell breaks loose, we have to introduce three important concepts
The physical universe is composed of contrasting environments and conditions. Desert–ocean, night–day, hot–cold, mountain–plain, wet–dry, happy–sad, smooth–rough, life–death. I could have gone on for pages and pages, but you get the idea. This concept is often called duality, or polarity.
Duality is entirely natural. In order to have a physical universe, there must be differentiation, otherwise, everything is the same. If all matter had to exist at the same temperature, for example, we’d never be able to heat water for our coffee in the morning, or make iced tea on a hot summer’s day.
We all know how boring it is when things don’t change. When it rains for four days in a row, you long to see the sun. When you’ve just broken up with your third boyfriend in eight months, you wish that you could find someone different. When the money runs out before the end of the month, you feel the same old frustration. Sometimes, even great good fortune, if continued long enough, leads to a desire for some excitement. The desire for change is natural, and reflects the design of the physical universe itself.
We’ve all heard the saying, “something is either growing or decaying, nothing ever stays the same.” This statement reflects the idea that everything in the physical universe is in motion. Science tells us that even in a solid, the atoms within it are vibrating. And of course, within the atom itself, electrons are flying madly about the nucleus. In other words, something that has no movement cannot exist. So material substances are always changing. And so too our lives are always changing. Change is a necessary component of existence itself.
The concepts of duality and change also apply in human relations. In human relationships, duality finds its expression in the emotions. At the bottom of the scale are crummy emotions like apathy, fear and hatred, and at the top are good–feeling ones like happiness, excitement and love. Human emotions reflect the design of the physical universe itself.
Just as in a chemical reaction, your emotional state can change rapidly, or gradually. Heat applied to a pot of water, for example, takes a few minutes to boil, as you stand there impatiently watching it. But a flaming match thrown on a puddle of gasoline immediately bursts into flame. My father had a hair–trigger temper, but my step–mother is much calmer. It takes quite a lot of heat to make her teapot toot!
A rude comment, or a vulgar action, is sometimes enough to change your opinion of another in an instant. That happened to me recently with a neighbor of mine, whose kids began to build a tree fort on my property. When I politely told them to take it down, their mother left a profanity–laced message scrawled on a piece of paper in my backyard. When I first met my wife I hated her. But then one day that hate turned to love. I remember the exact moment it happened.
Human relationships are constantly changing. Your daughter might love you one instant, but hate you the next if you won’t drive her to the mall. My wife and I get along famously, but that doesn’t mean we never argue!
As a species we have chosen to estrange ourselves from the planet by polluting our water and atmosphere, destroying other life forms and fighting amongst ourselves. Nevertheless, all consciousness and physical matter both reflect the properties of duality and change. Therefore, Spirit and matter are intimately connected.
Life is constantly changing on a scale from good to bad. The concepts of duality and change are very important in understanding the reason for life’s ups and downs. But there is another, very important concept we must mention in order to get the complete picture.