When dualism is integrated, life becomes whole, or
“holistic.” We become free from duality, the trap of pleasure
and pain. We transcend, no longer frantically clinging to the positive and
fearfully trying to avoid the negative. We find ourselves with a new awareness
and freedom; we have grown; happiness is unconditional.
Integration does not mean that the negative side of
any dualistic experience is eliminated, but that our perception of the negative
changes so it is no longer disturbing. Life is still encountered in terms
of dualities, but in a noncompulsive manner – a natural holistic ebb
and flow. Just as day and night, hot and cold are not regarded as problems,
the poles of feeling are experienced as nonproblematical. We use the “negative”
productively. This is the goal of processing and other growth therapies.
A good example of one of the basic dualities that
most of us need to work on is relationships: Unintegrated, we experience
the poles of isolation/dependency; integrated, we enjoy autonomy/relatedness.
Unintegrated, we fear being alone. Lonely and anxious, we seek to escape
from the isolation through relationship. We are driven by the fear of being
alone and depend on the other to eliminate our loneliness. We become addicted
to the other. If the other is lost, we experience and exhibit symptoms that
would be present in withdrawal from any addiction. When integrated, we enjoy
our aloneness. We become creative when alone, recharging our energies, and
even look forward to being alone. We then are able to relate to others nondependently,
which makes our company even more pleasant.
Each aspect of life may be broken down and understood
in terms of its dualistic complements. The integration of dualistic experience
becomes an art in itself.