Have you ever thought that everything we experience in our lives is from the perspective of contrast and interaction?

For example, we complain that this day is good, because the temperature is within a certain range, the sun is out or hidden by clouds, there is a breeze or not, etc.

All of our experiences are in references to others that contrast with the current experience. This includes our perceptions of beauty, wealth, power, position, friends, spouses, children and everything else in our life.

In the time-space of our universe, we live in duality.

What if the only real duality is our own perception of our experiences?

That the experiences themselves are neutral?

Let’s consider this.

If I asked you to choose either a $1 or a $100 bill, you would likely take the $100 bill.

Why? Because you would receive more goods from this than from the other.

While true, they are each just a piece of paper with the same intrinsic value.

One is more valuable because we mutually agree it is more valuable.

Our whole lives are like this. We may envy those with a comparatively better….. fill in the blank – life, job, husband, wife, child, money, home, family.

This is called relative deprivation and it refers to the fact that we are often satisfied with our position in life until we see someone we compare ourselves to that we perceive is being treated better than us.

Ironically, to another person we are a proximate cause of their relative deprivation.

To one, an event is good. To another, the same event is bad.

Too fat. Too thin. Too tall. Too short. Too rich. Too poor. Too exciting. Too boring. Too hot. Too cold.

And so on.

We all resonate and perceive the same things differently – weather, seasons, people, activities, jobs and places.

Our perception and our frame defines our reality.

Duality and contrast.

It is the way we define experiences and the way we define our lives.

Once we are aware of this fact, perhaps we can see more easily that people and events we label as “bad” or “good” are always defined with our particular frame of reference.

Wholeness is rising above this duality to see the creative nature of everything.

Not good or bad.

Just is.

For contrasting elements make up the whole, like the Chinese yin-yang symbol.

Paired contrast making up the whole – male-female, black-white, positive-negative, active-passive, etc.

Thus, to find wholeness, we need to address the duality in ourselves – for as we perceive ourselves to be separate from each other, we are fragmented inside of ourselves.

Understanding and embracing these fragmented parts into a single whole is our task to rediscover our inner truth.

What is this truth?

That we were always whole.

This is the road to health and to heaven on earth.

Almost heaven.


  • Clay B. Marsh

    Chief Health Officer, West Virginia University

    Clay B. Marsh, MD, is West Virginia University’s chief health officer, and serves as a member of President E. Gordon Gee’s leadership team. As WVU’s vice president for health sciences, he oversees five health sciences schools and three health campuses.