The Cambridge Dictionary says this about a familiar cliché’. If two things are two sides of the same coin, they are very closely related although they seem different: “Violent behaviour and deep insecurity are often two sides of the same coin.”
If you research the history of money you will find imprinted metals (often precious metals) were used as currency. These “coins” were embossed or stamped with images, words, pictures, etc. that gave meaning or validity to the bartering talents. On one side of a Roman coin was the image of Cesar validating its authenticity. On the other side there were various images to include monuments celebrating the legacy of the Roman empire.
To be a coin, there must be two sides. Each side represents concepts or ideologies that define the coin. You wouldn’t reject one side over the other. Both are necessary to tell the story and describe the coin.
Life is like a coin. Life is an infinite number of concepts that have two sides to define concepts. White needs black. Tall needs short and so on. When we cling to one side over the other, we create conflict. We lose sight of the coin and instead myopically fixate on one side. We are so narrowly focused we can’t perceive the coin at all. This conflict, the refusal to see both sides and cling to one, is the primordial energy of the separate ego.
As creatures of survival we are constantly picking one thing over another. We desire what we think we like and reject what we think we don’t like. It makes sense on one level when we have to sort out food from poison, shelter from harsh weather and friends from enemies. But we aren’t just a survival creature. We are much more. We are the divine consciousness living the experience of a survival creature.
As fully realized beings we can see both sides of the coin. We may have a preference of heads over tails based on our story, our conditioning, our training, our culture and so much more but we can see and accept both sides as necessary for a coin to exist.
Often in religion, ideologies, cultural norms and the like we miss the coin altogether. We physiologically choose one side of a concept over the other. We reject anything and all things that don’t fit into our paradigms. This constant churn of physiological division is the basis of our ego. It is the separatist paradigm that is our challenge to enlightenment.
Jesus was a fully realized being. He was a perfect manifestation of the Christ Consciousness. He understood how this reality works as an illusion of separation and a pathway for enlightenment. He had some pretty controversial teachings that seem to contradict unless you can see the whole coin. Here is an example:
And Jesus said, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (ESV)
Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. (ESV)
Jesus knew our struggles as perceived separate beings. Of course he would support eternal wisdom like honoring our parents. In a separation illusion where parents are separate humans, we can learn from their lives wisdom that could benefit our lives. As we work through the challenges of a separate-self, we need tools to survive.
But as some point we begin a journey of enlightenment. If we cling to our paradigms, our conditioning and our ideologies, we can’t step back far enough to see both sides of the coin. Enlightenment is seeing what IS as we are. We have to give up and let go. We have to relax our grip and surrender to the eternal wisdom of what IS.
In eastern teachings we have to overcome our Karma, accept Dharma to embrace our Atman and melt into the Brahman. Karma isn’t punishment for our bad behavior but the struggle against what IS. Jesus saw this clearly and was pointing us to an eternal life of a heaven within. He said this:
I am the way, and the truth and the life. No one comes to father except through me. (ESV)
If you look at this statement from an ancient eastern perspective you could re-write the verse like this:
My life represents the Karma, the Dharma and the Atman. No one finds Brahman unless they move beyond Karma through Dharma as the Atman to know Brahman as I have shown you. (Flip Side Translation)
Karma is our struggle against what IS as a perceived separate-self. Dharma is the truth of what IS. Atman is our unique manifestation of God (the soul). Brahman is God as ultimate truth, all that there IS and the divine.
Our life is filled with coins. We will struggle and suffer as long as we fixate on one side of a coin or on one coin at the exclusion of all that there IS as what IS.
If you would like to see another perspective on the words of Jesus, check out Flip Side. Here is a link: