The Power of Holding Opposites
Before I set the 2015 stage for you, let me take you back to the 2005 MDRT (Million Dollar Round Table) Convention in New Orleans, to better understand the Tree of Life I wrote about in Chapter 18…
Steve Kerr of the World Champion Chicago Bulls was one of the motivational speakers brought in to fire up the thousands of insurance producers from around the world who come to MDRT every year to get fired up. His talk was especially intriguing to me as a student of Kabbalah and mapping of life energy via the Tree of Life. He revealed the heart of Phil Jackson’s coaching philosophy deeply rooted in Eastern spiritualism, and the power of holding opposites. I wrote about the male/warrior-female/compassion (gevurah-chesed) in Chapter 18. Steve Kerr shared how holding opposite energies simultaneously made them the greatest basketball team in the world. Coach Jackson taught them to treat every shot as if the fate of the universe depended on it…and as if it means absolutely nothing in the very same instant. It’s not one or the other. It’s both at once!
So, with that as the backdrop, follow me into 2015. America is a much different place today than it was in 2005 for so many reasons! We were smarter people with cell phones then. We are zombies with smart phones now. We led ourselves to identify more as fellow Americans in 2005. Today we are led to identify more by gender, ideology, race and creed…it’s as if we’re being deliberately balkanized. Some of us see it as a good thing, while others sense a more sinister hand in what has been openly referred to as “fundamental transformation”. Wasn’t America a good place to begin with? What is this change? What is it costing us? What are we giving up?
Being on the questioning team, as opposed to the going along team, has cost those of us questioning a very high price relative to the boldness of our questioning. As power has coalesced away from local to central, it has gained a greater capacity to reward the go-alongers, in direct proportion to the punishment it metes out to the questioners. By the early summer of 2015, my questioning had cost me a treasured friendship and was threatening the love of my life!
Now, its critically important here to make a general observation concerning a key difference between the go-alongers and the questioners as it relates to the Tree of Life. In general, go-alongers are Chesed-cleavers (compassion) who tend to shun their own Guvuric voice and the same vital energy in others as well. Whereas, the questioners tend to cleave more to their gevurah (warrior), not because they shun their own chesed, but because they are compensating for the imbalance created by a growing herd of go-alongers fleeing the most important energy at this moment in time. As Kurt Russell so wisely said in a recent interview, “Now is not the time to lay down your arms!”
Here is where the miracles resulting from my mountain-top revelations kick in. After wandering in the pre-Esterbrook desert long enough to realize I needed to re-establish my riverbed roots, God moved in to provide answers to this questioner’s questions…which, when I stopped to think about it, were mostly prayers without confidence!
So, on the very last day of the year, the Holy Spirit compelled me to visit the friend I had lost by offending him with the tone of my questioning, to seek his forgiveness…just as the same Spirit moved in him to give it. And in my home that night, the same Spirit brought forth a balance embodied in the persons of our guests. We discussed Gun-control, Liberty and Islam; a conversation as heated as it got, that would ordinarily have polarized the room. Instead, the go-alongers came together with the questioners. In giving themselves to each other without giving themselves away, they were able to experience the nurturing essence of what they’d previously rejected…even if only for precious moments, a taste they will not soon forget. This is a miraculous gift to take with us into 2016!
After a good workout in the gym the following morning, New Year’s Day, I shared the highlights of the remarkable evening with two fellows in the sauna. After a good laugh, one of the gentlemen mentioned the medical advice he had received from his doctor who essentially prescribed eliminating “The News” from our lives as the key to living long healthy lives. Thinking of Steve Kerr, the Tree and God’s miraculous gifts, I said, “Well, there is another option. We can hold the awareness and the noise of what is happening in the world around us in the very same moment with the silence, grace and thankfulness in our hearts for all we are blessed with. We can harness the power of holding both together.” 🙂