Spiritual writer Father Richard Rohr says that dualistic thinking is the cause of most violence and unhappiness. He says that, when we compare and judge things, we often categorize them as good or bad, right or wrong. Dualistic thinking is at the basis of racism, sexism, and many other kinds of prejudice. We can counteract our tendency to dualistic thinking by abandoning the “either-or” mentality and substituting a “both-and” mentality. In conversation, for instance, we often respond to another’s opinion with our opinion, beginning with the word “but.” Substituting the word “and” for the word “but” shows respect for the other’s opinion. Jesus and all the great spiritual teachers advise us not to judge. Instead, they would have us be present to what is in the present moment, exactly as it is, without critique. The dualistic mind says, “She shouldn’t be that way!” The non-dualistic mind rises above personal preference and responds, “She is that way, and I embrace her here-and-now reality, just as it is.
Delores Dufner, OSB