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The Other Side of the Coin

Two ways of looking at it

By Peter Shepherd

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We are often confused about the meaning of words that express common interactions with the world around us...

  • Attach: making a connection willingly -- or an attachment that you are stuck with, unable to desist or let go. Two sides of a coin.
  • Judge: making a rational objective and open minded assessment -- or being judgmental in a prejudiced way. Two sides of a coin.
  • Accept: agree and go along with -- or accepting that's how it is without resistance and moving on from there, not necessarily agreeing or liking. Two sides of a coin.
  • Resist: acting to protect an interest -- or pretending not to see what you know is true. Two sides of a coin.
  • Be proud: a reflection of genuine achievement that retains humility -- or the false-pride of egotism, feeling superior to others. Two sides of a coin.

When your belief system, politics and lifestyle are different from other people's, do you judge them and resist who they are and how they live their lives? That depends on whether your motivation is love based or fear based, and that depends on where your ego is at, right now. We need to train our ego to be aligned with love instead of fear, so that it then becomes a transparent mental interface to the spirit.


If love is the unconditional acceptance of what is, then fear is the non-acceptance of what is, leading to resistance. Where there is love, oneness naturally exists; where there is fear, understanding and compassion go missing.

“On the other side of resistance is the flow.” ~ Guy Finley

As Nirmala stated so clearly, "There are basically two movements of consciousness: love and fear. Love is allowing what is and fear is resisting it." Flow, then, is a loving state of being.

Acceptance is powered by love; resistance is powered by fear; it is you that empowers them both.

Non-resistance is not passive or weak if it is powered by acceptance... which doesn't mean you necessarily like or agree with what you see, rather you're facing reality without defenses, with no need for emotional resistance and avoidance of communication. You get a truer picture that way. You can see what you can do effectively for the better, or what isn't within your control. And you remain peaceful.

“Suffering is arguing with reality.” ~ Byron Katie

If you shy away from a certain condition, it follows you like a shadow. But if you fearlessly work around to overcome the condition, being grateful for the opportunity, you'll be able to change it.

The idea of personal development is to train the ego to move from being motivated by fear to the motivation of love, so the mind becomes transparent to the spirit, so the human animal and the spiritual being becomes one human being.

“Only if you resist what happens are you at the mercy of what happens, and the world will determine your happiness and unhappiness.” ~ Eckhart Tolle

You can respond with "No, no, I can't bear that" or "OK, if that's how it is" - the latter doesn't mean you can't act to improve matters if that's possible, it means you're not suffering unnecessarily.

What you resist, persists! Just think of a time when a disturbing thought pops into your head, maybe with accompanying emotional discomfort. You try to push it out of your mind. However, that doesn't work, it bounces back and you feel even more uncomfortable and stressed. It stays in the back of your mind in an endless loop and you end up losing your presence in the world. Yet, if you took the time to fully experience the thought and feelings, and to understand why you were thinking that way, you could let go of that resistance and be free of the weight of it.

Anger is another of these concepts that can have two meanings:

  • Love based, conscious, responsible, caring, constructive
  • Fear based, unconscious, reactive, hating, destructive

Conscious anger is to take responsibility, to do your best to correct wrongs, to change what is damaging, and to communicate objective truth considerately, with understanding and empathy for the problems of the other.

Our thoughts power our feelings. It's best to try and be rational: not to label things as all good or all bad, especially always. We suffer least when we can accept reality just as it is, without exaggeration nor attachment, and not to resist seeing things just as they are. That's not to say do nothing to correct or improve things, but we benefit most when we open our heart in compassion and our mind in appreciation. Suffering is the result of resistance; so much better to simply embrace people, things, feelings... as they are.

Of course, we're not likely to embrace others as they are when we feel the compulsion to be right, to make others wrong, because of egotism. Insisting you’re right, whilst refusing to listen and consider other viewpoints - that’s narcissistic, it simply maintains the status quo and it's not good at at all (but all too common). And then there’s rightness because you honestly consider you are correct, with objective facts that prove your point. Assuming you’re right, but retaining a mind open to further points of view - that’s confidence and hardly a bad thing. And that enables you to learn from others and explore new directions, to be creative effectively. Nothing wrong with that!

The concept of pride is another coin that has two sides. On one hand, false pride is egotistic, feeling superior to others, which is why we tend to think of pride as a sin. But on the other hand, we can be justly proud of genuine achievements and creations that are a reflection of our love for ourselves and others - and remain humble. There's no egotism nor sin in that, indeed it is the appropriate way to feel. Such humility is based on gratitude for the opportunities we have been given.

Intolerance is a habit we've been taught, but it can be unlearned. Changing habits requires conscious practice. Acceptance of what exists doesn't mean you necessarily like or agree with it. You're simply confronting reality without defenses, no need for resistance and avoidance. You get a truer picture that way. You can see what you can do effectively for the better, or what isn't within your control. And you remain peaceful.


“Love the animals, love the plants, love everything. If you love everything, you will perceive the divine mystery in things. Once you perceive it, you will begin to comprehend it better every day. And you will come at last to love the whole world with an all-embracing love.” ~ Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Love leads to connection and oneness, acceptance and compassion. Oneness doesn't mean losing yourself, it means embracing all, feeling no separation. It's the path we need to take, both to survive and to evolve. It's the path that more and more people are taking, thank God.

More and more people are feeling this, and really it's our hope for the future that this becomes the New Human, and the old mentality of fear and hate no longer has a place in our societies. And it's not just humans, it's sheep and fields and trees and fields too... a true Oneness we can experience. It's the only revolution we so desperately need - a revolution in consciousness. Brings tears to the eyes... that's OK, tears are liquid love.

“When I look inside and see that I am nothing, that is wisdom. When I look outside and see that I am everything, that is love. And between these two, my life turns.” ~ Nisargadatta Maharaj

Nothing and everything at the same time, two sides of a golden coin... the big Zen paradox that has fooled thinkers for millennia, because it can only be experienced. It is the insight of enlightenment, beyond duality. We are spirit, not a material thing, and simultaneously we are not separate from any physical thing, nor from each other. Both spirit and the universe are simply expressions of Love.

The human animal (body-mind) experiences life as duality, and the human soul (when fully awakened) as non-duality. At the same time. And that's OK... You don't have to stop being a human when you are awakened to Oneness. You don't have to give up your life and live in an isolated cave in order to be enlightened.

In the Now

‘Being in the Now’ is another concept that is commonly misinterpreted. Like, the mind is our enemy, it distracts us with the past and future. It's the Ego running rampant. Of course much of the time, most people do have their head stuck in their thoughts and are missing out on their current reality. Life does indeed take place right now. This is the only moment that truly exists, outside of memories and expectations. "There's no time like now," because creation happens in the Now.

“Most humans are never fully present in the now, because unconsciously they believe that the next moment must be more important than this one. But then you miss your whole life, which is never not now.” ~ Eckhart Tolle

It's simply ceasing to resist the present - instead welcoming the now, being grateful for it, being at one with it, embracing love. You can.

“We need our past experience for the learning it offers; we don’t need it to cling on to regrets or blame - that changes nothing.
“We need our future to make plans; we don’t need it to worry about what might happen - that changes nothing.
“Like an artist creating a painting, we put our life together in the present moment.” ~ Peter Shepherd

Peter Shepherd
Peter Shepherd
Peter Shepherd is the founder and producer of this website. A transformational psychologist by background, he is author of ‘Transforming the Mind.’ Learn more about Peter's life experience and his views on many subjects at his Biography Page. Read More Articles by Peter Shepherd.
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