In my post “Is there a problem with money?“, I have just touched on the Oppressor/Oppressed dualism. Looking a bit closer at this, it would be natural to ask a few questions:
- Who is an oppressor?
- Who is an oppressed?
- How can one tell them apart?
- Can one become the other and vice versa?
- Can one be both?
- Can there be neither?
The moment we attempt to apply labels, problems begin. One person may seem to be an oppressor as an employer and at the same time be oppressed as a family member.
Also, there could individuals who consider themselves to belong to one of these categories, while many others may consider them belonging to the other.
The interesting thing that I have found with regards to dualism, is that whenever I see phenomena as one that’s dualistic – good/bad, right/wrong, pleasure/pain – I already know that there’s something which I fail to see. It is then that I need to take a step back and zoom-out, so that I can see a larger picture. I may sometimes need to repeat this zooming-out several times before a dualistic understanding makes way to oneness/wholeness.
We suffer when we take on the part of the oppressed. We feel powerless, acting out of fear, forced to do things that we don’t wish to do etc’. Many of us blame the oppressor for our suffering.
Surprisingly, we also suffer when we take on the part of the oppressor; we too, don’t do what we want. We may feel powerful in a way that’s limited to only certain playgrounds but not others. Fear is guiding us as well, since we feel that we have much to lose unless we exert power. Yet the more power we exert, the more seems to be needed. It’s both an uphill battle and a hamster wheel.
Either party may not be happy with the part that they have taken on, but that’s simply because happiness – as always – is not dependent on anything.
As Oppressor/Oppressed are simply parts that we assume, we all have both of these elements within us. When too focused on just a few narrow aspects of our life – that is to say, when our awareness is limited – we are unable to see both of these aspects/parts within ourselves. And so we live the illusion of being either one or the other when in reality we are neither. We simply assumed “an outfit” at some early point in our life, and with enough time allowed to pass, and repetition over the same thoughts, concepts and ideas, we have become convinced that this outfit is the “I”: It has become a belief. At that point we can no longer see the true “I” underneath the outfit that we wear. And if we think that the outfit is, in and of itself the “I”, then taking it off and having the freedom to choose any other outfit or even non at all, is not an option that’s even available to us. That’s because taking it off would be perceived as self annihilation.
The repeating pattern in all suffering and struggle, is a state of limited awareness/consciousness. (You may wish to read this sentence a second time).
We cannot simply order or force an increased awareness/consciousness, as we would with objects in the physical realm. It is humility, simplicity, letting-go, allowing and similar states of mind, that with time, consistency and repetition will gradually expand our awareness and allow us to see through the illusion of our own suffering.
The reasons and justifications that we give ourselves for our own suffering and struggle, are sure ways to keep us stuck in whatever unpleasant “reality” we may be in.
Whenever we feel that our life – what we call “reality” – appears to be an uphill battle, we should try to remember that it is just an illusion. That the truth, is that we are free right now. Circumstances have nothing whatsoever to do with it.
We – are – free – right – now.