Happy January. It is that time of year when many of us make resolutions. Maybe we’ve been eating a lot of sugar and now we want to eat kale. Or maybe we’ve been sitting on
the couch, binge watching Netflix, and now we want to get fit. Or maybe we have been neglecting our spiritual life and we want to cultivate an authentic relationship with the divine. Whatever your personal intention may be, you may notice that our best set plans in January tend to be forgotten by February or March. And I think that understanding the concept of polarizations in our inner experience or inner systems can really help us to get a handle on why that’s the case and how we can work more effectively to reach our goals.
So, a polarization just means that we have two parts that are warring with each other. Let’s say one part of us wants us to feel better and have comfort by engaging in eating sugar or carbohydrates. And another part wants to help us be fit or healthy by going to the gym and eating kale. Maybe one part of us wants to try to help us avoid all the chaos in the world by sleeping a lot.
And another part wants to help us avoid the chaos in the world by developing a relationship with the divine, by getting up early and having a quiet time. Notice that whatever the polarization, it’s just the behavior of two parts of us, in our inner experience, that have competing agendas, competing goals for the ways that they’re trying to help us.
So, notice that if we set a typical resolution, all we’re doing is aligning with one of those parts. Let’s take a typical new year’s resolution. I’ve been eating too much sugar and now I want to eat kale or protein or whatever the diet desire is that we might choose. So, typically a new year’s resolution means that our sugar eating part has been in control for the last month or two, or however long and now the part that wants us to be healthy or lose weight takes over and tries to push down the sugar eating part. That if we set an intention that aligns just with this part and we don’t pay any attention to how this part is trying to help us. Eventually the sugar eating part is going to get mad, push its way up and take over and eat a whole box, just saying, hypothetically, that might happen in some people’s lives, not mine.
So. What is a better way that we can approach the good resolution to be healthy, be connected to the divine, get fit, and treat our bodies well? Well, rather than approaching it from the perspective of trying to push down one part of us and align with another, what we can do is become curious about the polarizations in our system and try to get to know each of these parts in their uniquenesses.
So, maybe getting to know the sugar eating part, getting curious. How is this part trying to help me? Maybe it’s trying to help me feel some sweetness in my life when life right now is not feeling very sweet or some comfort? And, the kale eating part that wants me to lose weight or be healthy. How has this part trying to help me?
Well, that’s a little bit more obvious. It wants me to maybe be socially approved or to be fit or well. And, when we can begin to understand that neither of these parts is who we are and that they both are good parts. They’ve just gotten stuck in some roles that are fighting against each other. They tend to calm down and give us some spaciousness.
Spaciousness means we can access that inner wisdom that is contained deep within us, in our authentic self. To use ifs language, or to use Christian language in the God image within us. However you like to think about it. There is that deep inner wisdom inside of us. That usually is a more balanced approach rather than being an either, or it tends to be a both.
And so that inner wisdom of the self or the God image within us for example, would help us to honor our body and our nutrition. And our fitness as a temple or as something to be respected. And so it will be able to honor the nutrition and the weight goals or fitness goals of this part while also honoring the desire for sweetness and comfort from this part, it allows us to come to a more balanced place.
So my invitation to you would be to become curious about your inner polarizations. What are they? When do you start to notice that you have parts at war? Which part do you tend to dislike and which part do you tend to like? And, what would it be like to be curious and compassionate with both of these parts of yourself and to open up some access to the deep reservoir of calm, curiosity and connection and wisdom that resides at your core and at mine. That place deep within us that ultimately holds great wisdom for most of our inner polarizations .