How do you reconcile the utter madness of the world with the overwhelming joy of being alive in it? “Paradox: a situation, person, or thing that combines contradictory features or qualities.”
Without question we live in interesting times. The deception, insanity and turmoil in our world has no end, yet when we tune in very closely to life’s pulse, we find softness and connection open to us at every step. These contradictory features of the human experience point to the dualistic nature of the universe, but ultimately offer a glimpse of a middle way, the centre, where harmony resides in a sea of chaos. A seeming, but natural paradox.
“When people find one thing beautiful,
another consequently becomes ugly.
When one man is held up as good,
another is judged deficient.
Similarly, being and nonbeing balance each other;
difficult and easy define each other;
long and short illustrate each other;
high and low rest upon one another;
voice and song meld into harmony;
what is to come follows upon what has been.”
~Tao Te Ching ~
This is what personal awakening means:
To create a harmonious relationship with your own life. To solve the paradox.
Have you experienced any of these 3 extraordinary paradoxes of personal awakening?
1. The Awakening is Triggered by Fear and Supported by Love
Like an invading virus triggers the immune system, fear triggers the awakening. War, strife, turmoil, conspiracy, control, death, suffering, theft, abuse. This is the world we have created for ourselves. The toll of such heaviness manifests as a dense type of contagious fear, a chronic trigger that perpetuates the fight-or-flight response, but without an immediate or tangible threat to face directly. But there is nowhere to run or hide from the fear. We can confront it or be consumed by it … or transmute it.
And what is to be found beyond the fear? Love. An endless stream of it. In the stream the fear makes sense as a force which guides us into the stream of love.
2. Healing Hurts
The awakening is ultimately a healing process, but it’s hardly free of pain, because it is in a sense a recovery from injury or illness, like a form of forgetfulness of who you really are. As such, it actually hurts. A lot. And just like the agony of having a broken bone set, or the pain of recovering from a difficult surgery, emotional and spiritual pain is a necessary component of healing.
Letting go into whatever it is, depression, sadness, boredom, or even grief, is how healing begins. There is no out, only through. The remembrance of the pain is there to forever colour the outcome of the healing process.
“If you desire healing,
let yourself fall ill
let yourself fall ill.”
~Jalaluddin Mevlana Rumi ~
3. The Void Has Everything We Need
Counter intuitive it may seem, but stepping out of the cultural and mental clutter and into the void, where being and non-being balance each other, reveals everything we truly need.
It turns out that silence is the teacher.
In silence the universe comes into focus. Time stops and morphs into timelines. Infinite possibilities all become clear at once. Everything we need to know and feel is in this space, but to get there, everything has to be stripped away.
“In the pursuit of knowledge, every day something is added. In the practice of the Tao, every day something is dropped.”
~Tao Te Ching ~
What lies above lies below. A proper life is about balancing the joy of being alive with the terror of being alive. Ignoring either side of the equation leads to chaos.
“Do you want to improve the world?
I don’t think it can be done.
The world is sacred.
It can’t be improved.
If you tamper with it, you’ll ruin it.
If you treat it like an object, you’ll lose it.
There is a time for being ahead,
a time for being behind;
a time for being in motion,
a time for being at rest;
a time for being vigorous,
a time for being exhausted;
a time for being safe,
a time for being in danger.
The Master sees things as they are,
without trying to control them.
She lets them go their own way,
and resides at the centre of the circle.”
~Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching ~