The third way is the way of love
How to decide when you can't decide
I was talking with a young couple last week. They have a choice to make. He wants one lifestyle, she wants another. He wants to live here. She wants to live there.
Like so many couples (humans who are in relationship to one another) it can seem that they can’t make a clear and clean choice. If I have what I want, you lose what you want. If you win, I lose. Their beautiful hearts want to honor each other. They also feel the strong pull to honor themselves.
Here’s what I told them:
Imagine that you’re holding both choices — one choice in each hand— and bring your hands closer. As the seeming opposites move closer, feel the tension rise between them. You may experience this as acceleration in your thoughts, in your breath. It may feel like warmth or electricity moving. Emotion or excitement may start to move. Let that happen, too. No need to stop it or fix it.
That feeling, that tension is entanglement. It’s energy moving between things that, until now, you’ve been holding apart.
As opposites entangle, exploring one another, talking to each other, a remarkable thing happens - the germination of a third choice. An option that includes qualities of both.
A third way, that honors both sides of the situation, is born.
As I offered my thoughts, they both began to nod. It made sense to them, they told me. They couldn’t explain it but it ‘felt’ true.
Our bodies know this is true. So, here’s the simple formula.
Lay your seeming opposites side by side. Let them entangle. Do nothing more. Don’t try to solve anything. Let them simply rest beside one another.
And here’s the challenge:
You will need to be able to tolerate the wait and the discomfort. This is where your spiritual practice comes in. Soften the thought that you must hurry up and solve the tension with action. Quiet the plans that rise, the to do lists, the compromises. Use your breathing and self-calming techniques to tolerate the wait - the discomfort of not making the choice.
Let the magic take over. Let the tension between the choices build. Wait. Watch. A new, third choice is being born.
Life is so much more complex - and more simple - than we allow it to be. Almost every choice that we break into “this or that” is a false binary. There is always another way. There are options you’ve never considered. All of that can rise when you refuse to break things into binaries.
Between two seeming opposites there is always a third thing - a third way, which contains both.
This third way is the way of love.
What might it be like to live in the world but not of it? What might be possible if you could entangle seeming opposites, dissolve drama and set your heart free?