Half Full, Half Empty, or…?

Most of us are familiar with the saying “Is the glass half full or half empty?”, which points out how perspective affects our experience of life. In other words, do you count your blessings or tally up your grievances? Are you an optimist or a pessimist? Do you feel life is a gift or a burden, joy or tragedy? On any given day, you may feel one of these extremes and then extrapolate to a world view that sets you up for future experiences. You may keep an inner tally sheet of the “good” and “bad.” It seems to be a human tendency to divide up life events in this way. Yet life is made up of many emotions, many experiences. None of them permanent. What if the greater wisdom is to be inclusive of it all?

I grew up seeing the “half empty, half full” view played out in aspects of my parents’ personalities. My dad noticed poison ivy and quickly acted to get rid of it. My mother noticed lilacs in bloom and picked a bouquet for the house. Still, neither one of them embodied only one of these behaviors or life views. They both were so much more. So are we all. What if either/or options like full/empty limit us and keep us from seeing the complete spectrum of possible experiences in our lives? What if the glass of life is always full, and it is only human perception that polarizes it into half and half? Or what if it is always empty, in a receptive state, just waiting for our visions and potential to fill it?

More and more, these days I remind myself of this wisdom. It is very easy to fall into gloom and doom if I focus too much on world events. Even the weather extremes that are now occurring with climate change can trigger fears about the future. Where is the human race headed? Apocalypse or utopia? Heaven or hell? But once again these are polarized views, each one excluding the other. The longer I live, the more I learn to shift into neutral as much as possible, which is the soul’s vision of life. The soul has no opinions; it is just experiencing. We incarnated in human form to experience, to see and feel all of life’s variations and wonders without limitation. Judgment about good or bad stalls us in one viewpoint, which translates to one experience. Is it possible to let go of those opposites and live in neutrality, which includes everything?

Neutrality doesn’t mean boring sameness. It means an open heart and mind. It means inclusivity—of events and people and every single detail of daily life. Nature gives us the best example of this. There is an overall harmony to the natural world: trees, plants, birds, animals, insects, stones, soil, fungi all living intertwined and connected lives. Of course, birth and death take place, but in the natural flow of life on Earth, not artificially imposed or manipulated. Perhaps this is our greatest lesson, we humans: to flow, not try to control. Because in truth, we can’t control, anything. At a deeper level, all is unfolding as part of a greater universal tapestry of being and light.

So if we are meant to flow and not control, why not relax into accepting all of life as a gift of infinite possibilities? Which is the soul’s view. The soul sees glasses stretched to the horizon, in a rainbow of colors, all of them both empty and full. All of them perfect as is. This is a bit like what Buddhists call “the middle way,” between attachment and aversion, form and emptiness. You walk life’s path inclusive of every experience that unfolds before you, without categorizing or judging. Just being fully present. In this is peace, which my life has continuously guided me towards. And it was within me all along.

4 thoughts on “Half Full, Half Empty, or…?

  1. I often experience challenges as I attempt to walk a middle path. And I definitely find comfort in my judgements! I like your reminder that both/and might be a wiser strategy than either/or. Thank you for another blog post full of wisdom!

  2. Peggy, my thoughts and feelings resonate with every single of your newsletters. You bring comfort and reassurance to my life journey when at times I feel stuck and can’t make sense of it all. Thank you, and wishing you continued best of health and spirit.

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