This post is a seed for a future article about “liberating distinctions.”

In certain traditions there is an emphasis on distinctions such as absolute/relative, prakriti/purusha, or yin/yang. Exploring these distinctions leads to useful understandings of phenomena and reality. Used skillfully, these distinctions can be liberating, for instance by helping people to release dysfunctional ideas about how life works.

It occurred to me that certain distinctions are more liberating than others. So I calibrated a number of distinctions to see which ones provide the most support on the journey of awakening. The results are summarized below.

As of 10 February 2024, The one distinction that is all the way liberating is is / is not. The most direct path of liberation involves a relentless focus on what is truly so. All beliefs, concepts, ideas, and opinions about what is are not what is. Identity is not what is. Religion and spirituality are not what is. What should be is not what is. No ism is what is. Even the universe, as a projection of a seed idea, it is not what is. When one knows and is established in what is, one is free to create and enjoy creation.

The following distinctions are all extremely highly liberating, with the most liberating distinctions at the top:

Clarity/confusion
Downstream/upstream
Infinite/finite
Liberating/limiting
Real/illusory
Reality/illusion
Transfinite/finite
True/untrue
Truth/untruth
Clear/unclear

Clarifying/confusing
Gnosis/experience
Knowing/belief
Knowing/experience

One fundamental question is the extent to which an approach, practice, or teaching is awakening and liberating or unawakening and limiting. In clarity, unawakeness is not. In clarity, limitations dissolve. Limitation is fundamentally a lack of clarity about the nature of reality. In total clarity there can be no limitation, and there is no need for liberation. The work of love is to remove all limitations created by the belief in separation.

These common distinctions are highly liberating:

Awake/unawake
Awakeness/unawakeness
Aware/unaware
Being/doing
Conscious/unconscious
Enlightenment/unenlightenment
Forgiveness/unforgiveness
Form/formlessness
Immanent/transcendent
Nonduality/duality
Reality/appearances
Reality/perception
Unity/multiplicity

The following distinctions are significantly liberating until they are transcended, at which point they become significantly limiting:

Yin/Yang
Absolute/relative
Feminine/masculine
Changelessness/change
Unmanifest/manifest
Cause/effect
Divine/human (Note: Human is divine.)
No-self/self
Creator/created

The following distinctions liberating to a point, but quickly become limiting:

Heart/mind
One/many
Higher self / lower self
Being/becoming

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