Excerpt About Dichotomy

The Deep Split Implicit in Western Culture

Now we will turn our attention to the other aspect of that which is the universe —the world. The world, ourselves, and God are not different things, but they become separated out from each other in our minds as we grow and develop. Concurrent with losing our true connection to, and innate oneness with, reality in childhood, many kinds of divisions, dualities, splits, and separations form in our minds. In a predominantly Christian culture like ours, one of the main divisions is the separation of God from the world. There is the kingdom of heaven and there is the earth. There is the spiritual and there is the physical. So when we embark on a spiritual path, we unconsciously believe that we are setting out for heaven. We think that the path is a matter of going to a spiritual universe that we somehow see as separate from physical reality, from the here-and-now, from the world we live in. This deep split is implicit in Western culture, and Western religions actually support it. All theistic religions basically look at things through this dichotomy: There is God and there is the physical world. Their religious formulations are based on it, and only when you get into the mystical elements of these religious traditions can this split be seen through.

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