Segovia and the polarity in my life

‘Have a dialogue between the two opposing parts and you will find that they always start out fighting each other until we come to an appreciation of difference… a oneness and integration of the two opposing forces.’
– Frederick Salomon Perls, German born, Jewish psychotherapist, 1950s.

Segovia- the name itself conjures up visions of victory and beyond.

Walking through the Plaza del Azoguejo, I can scarcely fail to sense the ebbs and flows of more than two millennia. As I stroll on the Plaza, myriad visions seem to surround me. Of the Celts declaring this their homestead during the Iron-age and looking down at the small valleys and canyons watered by the River Doraton. Of the Romans who took over as they pushed their empire far and wide, employing cutting edge technologies like the aquaduct. Of this once proud city lying forlorn and abandoned after the Arab invasion. Of its rejuvenation and the Gothic architectural renaissance after the middle ages.

As I walk along the Calle Real towards the Plaza mayor, I am confronted with two distinctive aspects of this quaint World heritage town. Of expansive monuments, castles and cathedrals soaring into the skies, free of all restraint. Standing cheek by jowl with narrow, cobbled alleys, portraying a different world of scarcity and constraint. Interesting, is it not, this variance in the mindset of a society which creates and builds such contrasts? Is this merely a reflection of the socio-economic disparity and exploitation as many might suggest? Or could this be about something deeper within the human psyche?

I muse and look inwards. And I start seeing the polarity of the differing aspects coexisting within me. An Abundance of resolve and the Scarcity of insecurity. An unrestrained Soaring of broadmindedness and the constricted Narrowness of prejudices.

I soar as I become conscious of my unique magnificience, replete with my abilities, experiences and values. As I live in a mindset of abundance, knowing there is plenty of wealth, happiness and fulfillment to go around. A belief which allows me to acknowledge my gratitude for people, situations and circumstances that foster me.

I constrict when I feel the need to protect myself from what I perceive to be a dangerous world.As I get conditioned to focus on what’s wrong with me and my life rather than celebrate what is right. As I see myself in competition for the world’s resources and the love and attention of others.

Looking at these aspects within me, I however see no stretch, no strain. How so, I reflect in wonderment?

But as I reflect, I start seeing the pattern. Of the continuum that exists within me with the ‘soaring magnificence ’ at one end and the ‘constricting narrowness’ at the other. Two poles that define the polarity of my existence. I further see how my coloured perception of different situations make me land at different points on the continuum. Making me soar and constrict at different times.

I am….. Soaring Magnificence ( SM)
I am… Constricting Narrowness ( CN).

I acknowledge both and, for the first time, make them to speak to each other.


SM : “I need to soar. I need to break out of this vicious cycle of competition .and domination.”
CN: “You couldn’t possibly do that, could you? Do you realise what is at the core of these?”
SM: “Not really. What would that be?”
CN: “Well it is your Self doubt and fear. Self doubt that you are not good enough to get your fair share of love, fun, money.. Fear that if you do not resist, you will be dominated and cheated. Can you not see how essential these are for your security?”
SM: “Hmmm! So what could I do to rid me of self doubt and fear?
CN: “Frankly I wouldn’t know. In any case, why would you like to do that, losing your comfort zone and safety?”
SM: “But I wish to soar! That’s what I am here for. Suppose I were to replace self doubt and fear with trust. Trusting myself and others. Trusting my own abilities. Trusting that others are doing the best they know how to.”
CN: “How would you do that? Should you not be judging and be attached to what you would like to achieve?”
SM: “That’s it! You have shown me the way forward. I shall not judge, I shall remain unattached.”

There is no further comeback.

In learning…………………. Shakti Ghosal

Author: Shakti Ghosal

* A PCC Credentialed Leadership Coach. * A qualified engineer and a PGDM (Faculty Gold medalist) from IIM Bangalore. * More than three decades of industry experience spanning Engineering, Maintenance, Projects, Consumer durables, Supply Chains, Aviation and Tourism in the Gulf region and India. * Top level management positions to drive business development, strategy, alliances all around the globe. * A visiting faculty at the IIMs. *A passion to envision trends & disseminate Leadership incubation globally. * . +91 - 9051787576

60 thoughts on “Segovia and the polarity in my life”

  1. Great post Shakti. I warm to your perspective of the world around you. I believe firmly in a nondualistic view of the world which I can see you probably do too. The language of this world has to do with polarities and paradox which your post emphasizes. That’s precisely what makes this perspective so exciting and holistic.

  2. Shakti, I love how you walked us through both some history of this beautiful place of contrasts and through our own spiritual contrasts within. I felt drawn towards the place of peace rather than the pursuit of possessions that ultimately own us and fill us with the panic of greed. I enjoy your writing.

    Blessings ~ Wendy

    1. Hi Wendy,

      I am gratified to know you liked the flow of the post. I agree, the ‘panic of greed’ would lead to us constricting and we need to shift out of that space.

      Thank you for taking the time to comment. I appreciate.


  3. I don’t know how to put the words precisely, it looks like you are a deep thinker. I’m amazed with the way you put your thoughts while walking on the path that led you to the beautiful sights. Beautiful castle and street.

    1. Hi Yuna,

      Thank you for your kind words and also for taking the time to visit and comment. I appreciate.

      To be frank, some of the reflections came when I thought back to that wonderful visit to Segovia.I suppose such thoughts are always fleeting through our minds but we tend to ignore them for being unrelated or unimportant in that moment.


  4. A very thought-proving post Shakti. Am absolutely mesmerized ..
    Loved every bit of philosophy. How you have connected so well with the issues ..
    Clean portrayal …
    Eagerly waiting for your next post 🙂


    1. Hi Vino,

      Thank you for your kind acknowledgement.I feel humbled by what you say.

      If you liked this post, you may wish to view a few of the earlier ones too and I would be delighted to see your comments.



  5. Arrrgh the ever lasting Universal Breath… as we Breathe in the fullness of our being, as we let go as we breathe out of all that which we are………. For we are ALL and Nothing…….
    The illusion of Fear…. and how we hold it close restricting our flight…
    May you forever soar my friend.. Your wisdom is unique, as is the architecture of those ancient buildings… Beautiful in their form….
    So are we…… If we allow ourselves to Freedom just to Be………….

    Love and Light

    1. Dear Sue,

      Indeed, it is the illusion of fear that restricts. But why does it do so? Because there are aspects unknown out there that may hinder. And so we hold “fear” close as we see it as a protector.

      So what could we do to move ourselves out of the protective “Fear” zone? Taking a leap of faith may be easier said than done. Could the way be through expanding that inner space of core values that we have ? And, as you say, get the freedom to “Be” who we really are.

      Thank you Sue, for your astute comment. I appreciate.


      1. The Fear is I guess kind of inbred,maybe not only from our indoctrinated upbringings of our societies, but our ego based emotions will always have us questioning and in conflict within our very nature, as we strive to discover again our true selves.

        If we were really astute I would not fear anything or anyone, for I would KNOW I was an eternal being which was housed within a mortal shell, and the real I.. Me, the I AM, can never be destroyed.. so what is there to Fear, but Fear itself…
        The Fear comes from not truly knowing who we are… One we do, ( and I am far from that point ) lol .. then I would imagine we transcend Fear… Because then we would already have taken the leap in our evolution of thinking… because then without Fear our Inner world then changes our outer world.. I would hope.. 😉

        But I am far from being the wise…. I still and the sage seeking enlightenment through such conversations as these my good friend 🙂 and I so love our subjects you bring to make me think ever deeper 🙂
        It is I that appreciate you
        Sue x

      2. That is a great perspective of Fear, thank you.

        But our brain, neuro-system and hormones are genetically conditioned and thus collude together to ‘fight or flight” whenever, wherever there is a threat perception. To overcome this intrinsic aspect of ‘who we are’ would never be easy. But I suppose as we hold an enhanced awareness of our- SELF, we would have moved considerably along that path……


  6. Expand – Contract: Is it true the planet has been doing this over time? Do the shape of continents bear evidence of this movement?
    Opposites: How would we know White if we didn’t know Black?
    Love: Continual coming together and pulling away.
    SM – CN: A cocoon that allows the butterfly’s wings to struggle and strengthen before facing the world.

    You know what I’ve enjoyed most about this Shakti – besides the wisdom? The peek into your ability to see far more than the feast of physicality. You allow it to speak volumes to you at a deep level and wrestle it down into a metaphor that can be shared so clearly with readers.

    Yes, you are the person with whom I’d enjoy exploring. However, I might have to seek solitude periodically to digest all you grasp, ponder and share! 😀

    1. Dear Amy,

      Indeed,”How would we know White if we didn’t know Black?” But as we move through life, do we really hold the consciousness of the polarity within? And possibly more important, do we need to?

      I loved the portrayal of the SM-CN cocoon. Yes, we do get conditioned, and thereby strengthened, by the beliefs that we nurture and consolidate within. The coloured lens that we look through does allow a reality we put our trust in. So yes, this is the aspect of the wings strengthening that you speak of.

      Do I really have the ability to see beyond the physical aspect? This question does open up new thought trains.I recall that as a child I could look up to the skies and dream up connections between unrelated things.But with education and the structured “Dos and Don’ts” boundary that it brought in, I have largely lost that ability. Only very infrequently can I transport myself into that child-like state of unfettered thought and discovery. Segovia possibly allowed such a moment. I would conjecture this would hold largely for each one of us.

      Amy, as always I feel blessed to have you in my space and thank you for that!


  7. It does seem as if we’re always battling with ourselves or nature while erecting monuments to those battles. We’re so afraid of the unknown and we’re afraid that in the end, we might not matter much. I’m all too familiar with that constricting self doubt and sometimes it seems as if I’m in a constant battle with it. But you’re right – it’s much better to soar. Thank you for your inspirational post.

    1. Hi Sheila,

      Great to see you back. Yes, all of us do get trapped in that space of constricting self doubt. But in that moment, if we were to look for those core values we hold within and then expand that space outwards, what would be the feelings then? Have you ever tried this?

      I appreciate your taking time to read and comment, Sheila.


  8. Beautiful photos, Shakti, and your words so closely mirror aspects of my own feelings, but you’ve opened up such lovely poetic images with words. This is a lovely contemplation for my day. Thank you. Debra

  9. Shakti, I suspect this constriction and expansion, whether in the physical realm or in the mind, are part of what is termed “existential angst.”

    I think of the Snake, one of my favorite creatures (I was also born in the year of the Snake). Constriction allows it to move along the ground, to tighten up into a ball to warm itself and to survive by minimizing its footprint. Expansion is what allows it to nourish itself, jaws unhinged to accommodate the swallowing of a meal.

    We also live on a planet of polarity: north/south. Hot/cold. And as you’ve doubtless concluded yourself in so many words, these conditions must exist, for humans anyway, to grow in awareness/consciousness and deepen our understanding of the nature of reality.

    All that being said, I am beyond happy to be part of this existence!

    1. Hi Bela,

      As always, you bring such interesting perspectives to our discussions. I liked that analogy of the snake though, to be frank, the latter in its slithery, slimy form is not one of my favourites:)

      Yes,for us to grow in consciousness we need to remain an observer of the intrinsic polarities within.

      Thank you Bela for your presence here. I appreciate.


  10. we’re all learning for sure…and that’s a path we will continue as long as we live… interesting how the external sparked the internal conversation here… there def. is a tension between those two..

    1. Dear Claudia,

      You are right. We are indeed learning every moment, whether we are aware of this or not. To gain from such learning however we need to remain conscious.I can say that it was this consciousness that led the external ‘soaking in’ through the senses transform into that inner conversation as I walked those Segovian paths

      Thank you for your presence and comment here. I appreciate.


  11. Loved it in entirety but the conversation between the Soaring magnificence and the constricting narrowness is something which is a stand alone philosophy in itself. I am completely mesmerised.
    In learning (from you)….

    Yes. I am following your blog too. I have to 🙂

    1. Dear Pamela,

      Thank you. Delighted you liked it.

      As I think some more, I realise that our world is a network of conversations. As we become more conscious of this conversational environment and facilitate rather than block it, we would show up more empowered. What do you think?



      P.S. You may, at your leisure , browse a few of my earlier posts for different facets of philosophy that have inspired me over time.

      1. Yes I am delighted too.
        And you must have already noticed by now, I am Following your Blog, since I first discovered it 🙂
        I will be returning to read more for sure.
        I am getting entwined in the “conversational network”, like u say 🙂

  12. Even before I could finish the first line, it flew off…the maladies of modern day gadgets in the hands of an old foggy!!….Be that as it may, let me try again…But before I begin, let me thank you for stoking that fire within… We all need such stoking from time to time and you are doing a splendid job of it, Shakti – thank you…..

    Now to the basic point……..Actually, isn’t ‘duality’ at the very core of life, nay, this universe?… Forget the ‘ethereal’ – even in the material world that physically nurtures and sustains us? Where would life be if, say, it were all night – no day?….. Or, for that matter, all the scientific/technological achievements, if there were to be just one magnetic or electric pole?……And, where would humankind be if it was driven only by cold logic and reason, but no emotion?…….. I would even go further to suggest, ‘duality’ is in fact our raison d’être!……Where would our earth – and life on it be if, say, it had not broken off from the burning Sun and created a unique identity – a ‘duality’?……The wise men of the yore told us man is part of God [“So aham” – I am Him]….. While that could well be true, just imagine how difficult it would be to comprehend that and then also love something one oneself is a part of!!…… That’s why nature created the duality of the human and the divine, which makes it easier for the mind to pray and have an occasional dialogue with the supreme………….Therefore, I submit, ‘duality’ is the basic ingredient of life………Only, our sense of fulfilment/inadequacy depends entirely on how well we are able to manage the seeming contradictions – often a life-long struggle!!……And that is the point Bhagvat Gita makes when it says, a true yogi is one who can balance the “opposites” and urges us to be ‘sthitapragnya’ – one unaffected by the confusions of the apparent “opposites”……. “Yogastha kuru karmani” – go about all your worldly work with the mind of a ‘sthitapragnya’, without being judgmental, as you bring out at the end of your piece, so beautifully!

    Thank you Shakti once again, for ‘stoking the fire’!…. God bless…..

    1. Dada,

      As always, it is such a pleasure to welcome you into this space and get immersed in the wonderful insight that you always bring in. I truly appreciate.

      Yes, the Universe, the world, creations like us, the very existence of all that can be perceived do have duality built in. I suppose one would never be able to perceive anything without being able to measure. This measuring sense is brought to us by the duality. Einstein brought this intrinsic aspect of Duality into the rigours of Science through his Energy versus Mass, Time versus Space linkages.

      Strolling on the roads in Segovia, the realisation that struck me was not really the duality of all that was around me but the two poles and the continuum lying in between within me. That is why I termed it polarity. What for me was fascinating was how we land at specific points on the continuum based on how the poles have compromised on a particular issue.That is when I saw the importance of allowing the poles within to speak rather than remaining in compartments. That, to me, would be living in the Truth rather than in Fraud.

      And yes, I loved the perspective from Bhagvad Gita that you have brought in.

      Thank you once again for being here.


      1. Shakti,
        The ‘Google +’ notification this Saptami morning reminded me of our unfinished conversation on your musing…….. Absolutely, as you point out, there runs this continuum between the two opposing poles that define us – much like the lines of force between the electro/magnetic poles – invisible to the eyes, but existing alright!….. And I have always accepted [often to great disappointment with myself] the postulation that where I land on this continuum under different contexts and situations, is determined mostly by my inherent prejudices – my personal ‘values’ that I always attach myself to – not by a dispassionate, non-judgemental traction, as it ought to be…..

        But this particular post of mine is on something else you also say – almost in the passing – something very very profound – that touched me… That despite the presence of the opposing/conflicting aspects within, you feel ‘no stretch, no strain’…..there is no struggle!! How remarkable, how very inspiring that is!!…. Acknowledging that one is conditioned from childhood by these opposing aspects to be the person that one is at this point in time – but simultaneously, continuing on the path to being ‘sthitapragnya’ – of complete equanimity and harmony – and, there on, landing on the continuum without the traction of one’s past conditioning….. End of that internal conflict!!…… What a liberating perspective, that…..

      2. Dada,

        Pujo greetings to you and the family too. Hope it has been a funfilled time for all.

        You are right. Where we land on our several polarity continuums gets dictated by our underlying beliefs ( which make up our prejudices?) and intrinsic values.We get conditioned to respond to situations and circumstances based on this and very rarely use rational logic.

        You ask why there is no stress, no strain within despite the presence of conflicting aspects.To me, this is because, we are like the alloy built out of several aspects which are intrinsically conflicting. Just like how the disparate elements co-exist and do not fight within the alloy, so it is with us. We are…… an alloy of our beliefs. And just like the alloy, we show up into the world in a unique way, just like the unique properties of every alloy. The only difference is that we are conscious beings. It is this consciousness that allows us to look within and explore how we could change the alloy composition by observing the beliefs within and changing some of them that no longer serve.Acknowledging the existence of these is indeed the first step.

        Thank you once again for keeping the discussion open in this manner.



  13. Shakti … spectacular in its entirety. I would like to see you collect your pieces into a book of inspiration. I loved all the comments too – each right on target. I used to do battle with myself. But no longer. When I divorced in 1973 at the age of 27, I was a real mess, a product of an abusive childhood and marriage. I knew that I had to change or suffer for the rest of my life. I did not have the time nor the funds to seek professional assistance. So for a year or so I had some fun for the first time in my life. Then I became celibate for 5 years and worked very hard on changing everything within. Being celibate gave me a very firm emotional foundation upon which to build. I did not have to deal with any current emotional nonsense that results from dating. It worked, I am grateful to say. Thank you for another wonderful piece/peace.

    1. Dear Liz,

      Thank you. You are always so encouraging.

      Thank you also for bringing in your intense personal experience and perspective into this space. For me, the path you followed in dealing with the inner polarity is both inspirational and a learning experience. Do you realise that by your ability to bring up such issues from within, out of that “Unsaid, unaware” suppressed zone, you demonstrate that aspect of “Soaring Magnificence” in you? I wish to acknowledge you for that.

      Liz, you always bring great insight and value and I truly appreciate you for that.


  14. Shakti …

    A very thoughtful post. It reminds me that the darkness and the light both struggle within us.

    The challenge is to embrace the light and dismiss the negative energy. I’ve told my children (now grown adults) not to get too prideful because it makes you arrogant (judgmental), nor envious of others who have more because that just makes you bitter. The competition should not be with others. It should be within you and your goal should be to be better tomorrow that you were today.

    Thank you for your presence, Shakti.


    1. Dear Judy,

      Indeed we exist as does the duality of darkness and light within us. Going through life we get enmeshed between these aspects and much of our confusion and emotionalism might be stemming from this. I believe that the way forward is to first become conscious of this duality residing within and then train oneself to catch and recognise the feeling emanating as we confront situations. This can support us to shift from dis-empowerment to empowerment or, as you say, from darkness to light.I loved how you have explained this aspect to your children.

      Thank you too for your presence in this space and taking the time to comment. I truly appreciate.


    1. I suppose the trick is to get the two opposing aspects of our inner duality to start speaking to each other.This could shift us out of the inner conflict which you speak of to an alignment to serve us as you move forward in life.

      Thank you for taking the time to comment, I appreciate.


    1. I loved what you say and I would really look forward to your sharing some of the perspective which you have gained.I am sure it would add much value to the discussions here.

      Thank you, I appreciate.


  15. My Dear Friend Shakti….Another great one. I have always felt that if you take all the worlds problems back to the core you will find that Judgment is sitting there smiling smugly twirling the freedom key about on a long golden chain. Ego is the keeper of judgment as well as other nefarious emotions. Ego is the jester that dances at the very center of our being begging for attention. It is best if we side step it and remain securely seated in our humble hearts. The boldness of judgment has no place in our new world being created. We must leave it outside the gates before we enter into our realm of love and compassion. So good to read you again and hear your thoughts. Be well and be light 🙂 Blessings and love….VK

    1. My dear VK,

      As always, it gives me so much pleasure to welcome you and your insightful comments on this forum. So thank you my friend.

      That is a wonderful insight you bring in when you say that much of the world’s problems could be ascribed to judgments being made. What does judgment really imply? That we consider our perceived reality to be the correct one? That we thus need to impose our thoughts and viewpoint on others? I sometimes wonder whether this thought pattern emanates from our ego ( as you say) or insecurity / low self concept.Or it could be both in some measure.

      Yes, the way to side-step is to remain securely anchored to our hearts. To me this implies being secured to our values. As we consciously allow these values residing in our core to expand out throughout ourselves and then eventually show up outside of us as an aura, we can indeed enter the hallowed realms of love and compassion.

      As always, I truly appreciate this discussion.


      1. So true Shakti…What is so sad is the fact we have lost our values and need to get them back! It seems that happens when we learn to stay in our hearts again. The two go hand in hand. Have a happy day and be well…Love and light….VK

  16. What a great post! Long time, no see. I love these 2 paragraphs:

    I soar as I become conscious of my unique magnificience, replete with my abilities, experiences and values. As I live in a mindset of abundance, knowing there is plenty of wealth, happiness and fulfillment to go around. A belief which allows me to acknowledge my gratitude for people, situations and circumstances that foster me.

    I constrict when I feel the need to protect myself from what I perceive to be a dangerous world.As I get conditioned to focus on what’s wrong with me and my life rather than celebrate what is right. As I see myself in competition for the world’s resources and the love and attention of others.

    1. Hi Diana,

      Great to see you here and your comment.

      The interesting aspect of the two aspects you have highlighted is how they always co-exist within. What fascinates me is how these contrarian aspects co-operate ( collude?) to make us land at different points of their continuum under different situations and lead to different behaviour patterns.

      Thank you for your presence, I truly appreciate.


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