Jun 082013

Part of the difficulty with humans is that we just don’t know how to be okay with paradox. We have an impulse towards linear, black or white thinking and can’t seem to wrap our heads around  two coexisting and opposite truths. Not sure you believe me? Imagine a kind man who opens doors for others, gives to charity, always remembers the birthdays of everyone at his office and daily inquires about their lives and families, listens intently when his wife talks about her struggles. Now imagine that person is also a pedophile (do remember, though, that not all pedophiles act on their desires). What just happened when you read he was a pedophile? Your mind likely eradicated the kind characteristic traits of the man. When faced with paradox in humans, this is what we typically do in order to make sense of the world we live in – we try to destroy one of the truths that doesn’t fit into our understanding of the world.

Related to that is our incapacity to accept shadow. One of the teachings in Buddhism is that ‘life is suffering.’ The first time I was exposed to this I had such an aversion to it. I remember thinking something along the lines of “wow, that’s depressing. Why on earth would I want to be part of any religion that teaches that?” That was twenty something years ago and I understand the teaching differently now. ‘Life is suffering’ is a truth that we are resistant to believing. Suffering is simply a part of life. Unavoidable. Just as is joy, enigma, tenderness, hatred, goodness, etc.”

Can you be a feminist who likes to be sexually dominated? A meat-eater and animal rights activist? Can you live a life of compassion, and sometimes be a complete bitch? Can I be deeply spiritual, and despise organized religion? Can humans be incredibly tender and sweet, and also intensely cruel and demonic. The world is both mind-blowingly beautiful and disgustingly ugly. A black hole is everything and nothing. We are the universe, and a spec of the universe.

Our inability to rest into paradox is one of the fundamental sources of our own suffering.There is a simple practice I use in order to allow my mind to rest into paradox. I notice my thought or opinion about something or someone (including myself) and then I ask myself “What Is Also True?” Try it on today. You will notice how you unconsciously filter out aspects of the truth that are less comfortable.

Happy paradoxing!

Sabrina Santa Clara / Authentic Alchemy x3

clip i am a paradox

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