Healing the Divide: A Few Partial Solutions Worth Considering.
Bill Cottringer

“Until we can reconcile mind and matter as just being different sides of the same coin, dualistic thinking will continue to take things apart rather than put them back together where they belong. ~ The author.

I think the current Divide in our country and the whole world has trapped us deeply inside a classic double avoidance-avoidance conflict—putting us between a rock and hard place with two available choices for escape routes, both of which are more undesirable than desirable. This is the sort of stressor that normally results in increased mental illness and decreased common sense. So how can we improve both our mental health and common sense? Here are a few partial solutions that may be worth considering:

1. Seeing reality as it is and not as we might prefer, is probably the best way to make what needs to be better, less bad than where it seems to be headed. So, accepting the Divide as it is—putting us all in an unwinnable conundrum and making our choices for us—can lead to a better understanding of the dynamics that make it so painful and destructive and eventually identify the small changes that can be made to improve things for everyone.
2. It may be the best time for everyone to stop and fill the present moment with humble appreciation of the unique life story we are each living, worthy of an Academy Award nomination, and then become more mindful and aware of how our assigned role contributes to the grand play of life we are all part of.
3. This moment of appreciation opens the door to some critical questions: Am I the rightful author of my own life story or am I just a puppet with strings being pulled by someone else with a different intent? Only when we can see we are not acting as the author of our own story, can we change what needs changing to guide the story and role we are playing closer to the outcome we dreamed about when we started this journey.
4. Sometimes it is useful to pause and reflect upon the possible purpose of an event—like this Divide we are being forced to choose sides on and thinking we need to fight to the death in preserving our side as the best side to be on—in order to fit our tiny but important piece correctly into the whole puzzle. Maybe the purpose of the Divide is just to make us aware of these possible solutions, or to get us to question the validity and utility of our choices.
5. At the present time, our beliefs seem to be controlling us and forcing us to choose one side over the other in the Divide, rather than us choosing a belief as the right means to the right ends. This is mainly where we have given up our own life story authorship and s proper course correction requires some critical discernment as to the authenticity of some of our most sacred beliefs that may be driven more by fear of uncertainty and the unknown, than developing a belief that is based more on positive support of our core values.
6. Diversity is not the enemy of the Divide, but rather the beginning of the unifying, gap-closing friend. But this can’t happen, until we regain control of our dualistic minds which seem to have an insatiable drive to separate everything into opposite qualities—good vs. bad, right vs. wrong, desirable vs. undesirable, pleasure vs. pain, etc. Although the Yang and Yin principle of life is so integral and intertwined to it, there is a distinct possibility we have carried things too far to the extreme in dividing everything into this or that, leaving nothing without its opposite.
7. It is the habit of judgement that is the real enemy of the Divide. The simple solution to dissolving the Divide is to stop judging experience as good or bad, desirable, or undesirable and start seeing it as “different” without assigning what is usually just an artificial flavor to it. Unfortunately, our judgments and beliefs are very addictive, being both psychological and physiological, and so undoing our dualistic minds is a complicated and difficult process. Fortunately, it can start with the simple realization that such dualism is not really serving our own individual or collective interests very well at all.
8. In this spirit, it may be time to question why we take ourselves and our perspectives and beliefs so seriously in seeing life and this Divide as an overly competitive, win-lose, do or die killer sport, instead of dwelling in humility and focusing on how we can give an Academy Award-winning performance everyone can enjoy. We may think we are doing this, but the current temperature says otherwise.
9. It has been said to keep your friends close but your enemies closer. What does this mean? My take on the aphorism is to get to know the enemy better, and in this case maybe the enemy is failure, which we should be embracing instead of running from. Usually, when you study failure, such as judgment and dualistic thinking, you find the important clues as to how to be more successful with your beliefs and behavior. For instance, you can’t really control your brain to not think and feel strong prejudice against values you abhor, but you can control your mouth from speaking them or your hands from carrying out what your mind thinks. Another term for this is exercising your rights responsibly, so as to stand up for them assertively, but not hurt anyone needlessly in the process.
10. I am still working on my own life movie script where a 90-year spry, old guy wins the big lotto jackpot in Powerball or Mega Millions. He has always dreamed of great things he could do to make the world a better place. So with his winnings, he opens a free library where people can check out some biochemical samples of things like, understanding, acceptance, humility and empathy, to experience the benefit of these qualities and reconcile their own personal divide inside and collectively heal the big Divide outside.

“Mind over matter—If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” ~ Anonymous.

Author's Bio: 

William Cottringer, Ph.D. is Executive Vice President of Puget Sound Security in Bellevue, WA, along with being a Sport Psychologist, Business Success Coach, Photographer and Writer living on the scenic Snoqualmie River and mountains of North Bend. He is author of several business and self-development books, including, Re-Braining for 2000 (MJR Publishing); The Prosperity Zone (Authorlink Press); You Can Have Your Cheese & Eat It Too (Executive Excellence); The Bow-Wow Secrets (Wisdom Tree); Do What Matters Most and “P” Point Management (Atlantic Book Publishers); Reality Repair, (Global Vision Press), Reality Repair Rx (Publish America); Thoughts on Happiness; Pearls of Wisdom: A Dog’s Tale (Covenant Books, Inc.) Coming soon: A Cliché a day will keep the Vet Away (Another Dog’s Tale). Bill can be reached for comments or questions at (425) 652-8067 or ckuretdoc.comcast.net.