(16) Master of the Two Worlds - Separation is just a Thought
Updated: Mar 19, 2022
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To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour
("Auguries of Innocence" by William Blake)
"So, Jennifer, you finally found your message and unifying principle of ‘Helping People Transform Themselves Through Art’. To me, this sounds like a powerful message that integrates the practical aspects of life with a transcendental dimension of wholeness. Is it how you are experiencing it?”
"Yes, definitely. I owe a lot to the transformative work that I’ve been doing with my coach.”
“And it feels like this brought you to ‘Mastering the Two Worlds’, the Unseen and the physical one.”
“I am fairly clear that I am doing what I am here to do - to help others find more in themselves by engaging with visual art. Once I found my goal, everything fell into place. My natural state is lived on a fairly high level and I can transform with ease.
“And people notice – one neighbor told me that my paintings now are much lighter, like there is no more ego into them.”
"As I read your story, Gisela, I admire how resilient you've been through your fears, challenges, and suffering. You've come all the way out to tell other people that there's hope."
"My whole life has prepared me for that. You know, I’ve lived in a country that doesn’t exist anymore, the German Democratic Republic, or East Germany. The collective process of healing the wound of the Berlin Wall had probably planted some seeds in my soul back then."
"You may imagine, then, that breaking through the walls of my reality had been far more than just a metaphor to me. I had actually seen the Wall falling. Yet, I really learned what breaking a wall meant when I had to dismount the mental bricks of my self-imposed conditions, and I reached out to the light on the other side.
"Do you see this painting on the wall? That's the phoenix in me rising from the ashes. As with silver clay, fire dissolves what doesn't serve us anymore, and only what counts is left. And that's a beautiful metaphor of one's life journey."
"Sounds like you are truly embodying the Master of the Two Worlds now."
"Accompanying inner transformation with coaching, and at the same time making it visible as well as tangible for my clients with silver clay, is the most fulfilling work I know of, right now. Spirit and matter, in one single whole."
Joseph Campbell calls 'Master of the Two Worlds' the penultimate stage of the Hero's Journey.
From a maturity perspective, after all the trials, the clashes, the transcendence from the limited dimension of the 'small self' to the larger reality of the Oneness, the Hero is now able to see the two realms of common days and imperishable divinity as just one.
They see the larger scheme of eternity in the passing years that corrupt the flesh, and the rhythmic cadence of human time as the heartbeat of the infinite dance of life. They observe the decomposition of what's no more needed, leaving empty space for a larger Consciousness to create life, in an eternal cycle. They smoothly enter this space and co-create within it in alignment with a larger Wisdom that they channel.
They know well how to employ their rational mind when operating in the space of the well-known, of repeatable processes, of standard actions. And when they move into the realm of the Unknown, they know how to tap into a wider Knowledge that inspires them with the next steps.
They clearly see the presence of the Unknown in their common life. They see their daily life as a virtual representation of the mystery of the Unspeakable, a stage where they can freely experience the timely passage of passions, emotions, laughter and tears, ups and downs, living them deeply without being caught up in them.
They know how to balance inspiration and personal action, trust in the fertile void and common sense, and that the difference between the two is just a thought in their mind.
They see material creations realizing before their eyes and through their hands, yet they sense the wider Consciousness that informs those creations.
When they see all this and enact their inner wisdom, to an external eye they appear as Masters of the Two Worlds.
In fact, they are mastering the unique mystery of the Creation of Life, where All is One, and all is well.
Mastering the Two Worlds in The Odyssey
Immediately after killing the Suitors and purifying with fire and sulfur the spaces where the massacre has been executed, Odysseus asks Telemachus to think about the next steps to take. He expects that the Suitors' relatives would seek revenge, and it could make sense to leave the scene for a while.
The young man, though, appeals to him for his intelligence. In fact, Odysseus is well known for his cunning that has helped him and his men survive during impossible trials through the twenty years of his journey. There's no doubt that he can apply also on this side of the threshold the same skills that he refined through his previous challenges, and his son totally trusts him.
So, Odysseus tells everyone to wear clean clothes and let the cithara play, so that people outside of the Palace, hearing the merrymaking, won't suspect anything about the slaughter. In the meantime, he, Telemachus, and the two servants, all in their armors, will rush to their farm and ask Zeus for guidance on the next steps.
And so they do.
The Suitors' relatives discover the terrible deed and, enraged, seek out Odysseus for killing him.
Athena consults Zeus on what should happen now: extended war or peace?
Zeus replies that Odysseus found revenge by punishing the Suitors. Now it's time for loyal covenants among everyone involved, and for Odysseus to rule forever. They'll send divine oblivion over the massacre that just happened, and peace and wealth will reign.
In the meantime, people seeking revenge reach Odysseus' farm, and he and all the other men get ready to battle.
Odysseus recommends Telemachus to honor his bloodline, and the young man replies with pride and determination. This is a sign of Telemachus' growth through his journey so far. He's ready to enter the world of manhood.
The army of Suitors' relatives attacks.
Mastering the Two Worlds in Aquaman
Riding the monstrous Karathen underwater, Arthur, now in his full standing of King of the Seven Kingdoms, drives the attack against Orm the Ocean Master.
His telepathic powers allow him to move in unison all sea creatures against the evil armies.
Yet, too many casualties occur, and, advised by Princess Mera, he decides to fight Orm in a duel above the sea surface.
Orm has been trained as a warrior for all of his life. Arthur, though, overpowers him thanks to both the mythical Trident that he acquired through his journey and to his ability to fight also on the surface.
Orm is defeated. His life is spared by Arthur, and before he's imprisoned Queen Atlanna, his and Arthur's mother, tells him that he's been misguided. There are not two separate worlds: the land and the sea, she says, are one.
Now, the Seven Kingdoms have finally a Hero, son of the land, king of the seas.
Mastering the Two Worlds in Chris Gardner’s Hero’s Journey
Chris has known both sides of the coin.
He’s faced and survived homelessness, and he’s played with expensive toys.
Now he continues to share his message that ‘you can be or do whatever you want’ that helped him stay afloat and finally thrive in dire conditions, but with an important twist.
In fact, the beginning of his Journey had as a keyword the term ‘pursuit’, which means going after something while knowing you will never have it in full.
The late, non-negotiable events in his life, like the loss of a dear one, have provided him with a new awareness and a deeper truth that he’s sharing with the world right now. The permission to dream, to open up to a wider, universal potential, is innate in our human and spiritual nature.
We have the right and the ownership to summon it, at any time.
It isn’t a pursuit anymore.
From what I see, this resonates with the acknowledgment of the timeless presence of this creative potential and our possibility to bring it to life from the ‘Space Within’, as Michael Neill calls it, whenever we want.
Mastering the Two Worlds in My Story
One month in with the new client, in a complex environment full of internal politics, my new team tells me that I’ve already brought in some fresh new air. I’ve quietly challenged the status quo, brought in some new paradigms, and stimulated a mindset that is both pragmatic and envisioning.
Through my years as a Scrum Master and as an Agile Coach I’ve learned to seek patience to temporarily accept what can’t be changed right now, courage to challenge what should be changed immediately, and wisdom to know the difference. I find this liberating, and I coach my teams on doing the same.
I attribute this clarity of mind to the fact that I’m a freelance consultant.
I don’t have career ladders to climb or bosses to ingratiate, and this helps me with my integrity.
My role has to do with transparency. I seek for the truth, and I speak it out loud. I don’t have hidden agendas. I look for the greatest good of my team, the larger program within which the team operates, and the whole organization, and I coach people to do the same.
I do this with graciousness and respect, and so far, my honesty has always been appreciated.
But I’m also aware that corporate politics could sometimes be tricky, and this level of transparency could trigger strong reactions in environments that are not mature enough.
Yet, I have the lucidity to know that, in case something goes wrong and the basis for a frank and open collaboration blows up, I could always reinvent myself with another client.
“Never ever,” I repeat myself, “I would come back to being an employee. The sacredness of this moral honesty is too important for me to trade with an open-ended contract.”
I laugh at this. I still remember when, just a few years ago, the thought of job instability made me freeze. What a journey I took from there.
Yet, five months after the start of this new collaboration, I get a call that makes me challenge my assumptions.
“The client has just shared that, for policy, they can’t hire freelancers for more than a certain amount of time, and you’re almost done with the available days,” one of the Directors of the Consultancy Company I’m working for tells me.
“They love the work that you’re doing with them, but there’s no way you can continue as a freelancer.”
I hold my breath.
“We thought about that,” he continues, “and we have a proposal for you. How about becoming one of our employees?”
Ouch. This caught me off-guard.
Yet, I’m surprised to sense a new openness inside.
I’m not worried right now, just curious.
This is a change I haven’t been looking for. That’s a sure hint that there’s something for me to explore.
“You have seniority, and your know-how would be a great asset for us. We’re growing like crazy, and the trends are with us. We could be doing a great job together.”
“What would you expect changing in my day-to-day job, compared to how I’m conducting it right now?”
“Basically nothing. You would continue having a direct relationship with the client and their teams. You know best how to do it.”
“The only difference I see,” he goes on, “is that with an open-ended contract you could have a longer-term view and stability, plus potentials for career progression if you’re interested in that. Give it a thought.”
“I would anyway be keeping my VAT open. I couldn’t be using it during office hours, but I could be having coaching sessions after that and on the weekend. Would this still be ok?”
I talk with my accountant, and he too confirms this could work. There are some bureaucratic complications to be sorted out at first to be both employee and freelancer, but we can easily manage them.
I start smiling.
I can keep the best of both worlds, the stability of an employee and the flexibility of a freelancer. I have a daily job, and I carry on my coaching practice.
Once more, I’m beyond 'this OR this', and I feel at ease with both.
We agree on the conditions, and I sign the contract.
Another boundary is overcome.
This is what being a 'Master of the Two Worlds' means to me.
As for my job, world of freelance consulting on one side and world of employment with an open-ended contract on the other.
As for my life, world of common days, and world of divine creation. Woven into one single experience.
Now, I can’t keep all of this for myself.
The urgency to share it is growing inside, and I can’t help it.
And, in those same days, I publish a post where I share with the world my intention to create the book that you’re reading right now.
Remember a moment when in your daily life you used experiences acquired in another context. Maybe you took a course, did a boot camp, went through life's struggles to master such know-how or understanding.
How was it bringing that awareness into your common days? Was it easy to integrate it into your daily life? How did it feel?
Beyond Your Story
Look beyond the specific events that you may have recalled in the points above. Did you perceive a separation between the two experiences? Did you see yourself (or do you see it right now) as the bridge between those two 'Worlds', if we can call them so?
Do you see how Known and Unknown are woven together in a unique experience that is both human and divine? If not, can you spot the thought in your head telling that this is not possible?
Notice what's true in the space beyond thoughts, and just stay present to it.
Is this post lighting you up? Are you willing to Open Up to Your Potential?
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