by Dr. Susan Nettleton

Ambivalence is the human tendency to have two opposing feelings simultaneously. We are attracted to someone or something (an object, an idea, an action) and at the same time, we are repelled by it. Our resistance to the very things we want is an aspect of ambivalence. Gaining mastery over our lives requires that we break free. The mind tries to do this by turning off awareness of one or the other opposing feelings—we become unconscious of either our attraction or our rejection and are only aware of whatever is the more “acceptable” feeling, usually mirroring social conditioning. This isn’t really a solution, because we remain double-minded and half-hearted. In the ongoing practice of meditation, we gain insight and self-honesty in the awareness of our inner conflicts, and mature in our ability to handle the complexity of our emotional states. We come to discover that our “mixed” feelings ultimately take place within the Wholeness of Life. God is One, not two. As an aspect of that One, we too have room inside for multiple points of view, and yet be and live as an integrated whole.