One of the most useful ideas I ever heard was Ken Wilber’s distinction between absolute and relative truth. It’s this seemingly paradoxical idea that the world we are accustomed to characterised by polarity (no one thing can exist without its opposite) also contains a non-polarised dimension – an absolute truth or Big mind as Wilber likes to say that has not been split. It’s the spacious, open awareness that we relax back into in meditation or what Sam Harris calls the “prior condition”.
Hurts more bother you lessKen Wilber
Why this distinction is so useful to me is because it explains what our evolution can look like. Instead of thinking we need to be untouchable or if we are walking a spiritual path, that we need to look like a more together kind of person less effected by worldly concerns we can hold a different point of view. Evolving as these human creatures involves feeling more. That means it hurts even more but at the same time bother us less precisely because of the absolute realm.
When we are walking in both we know both realities as true. In absolute terms, there really is no problem to solve and we can relax in that. In relative terms, there is much work to do. Over leaning in either direction results in imbalance. On the one side it looks like spiritual bypassing and on the other crushed by the pain of humanity. The middle ground is this profound line by Wilbur – Hurts more but bothers less. That we can feel the full spectrum of humanity and be grounded in what can never be touched.