Embrace the Paradox
An ancient Vedic teaching states that the ability to embrace ambiguity, uncertainty, and paradox is the hallmark of spiritually enlightened beings.
Yet while we may acknowledge the value of flexibility and openness, the ego mind craves certainty. It strives to classify ideas and experiences into neat categories of good or bad, true or false, victim or aggressor. While this function of the mind is invaluable when we need to quickly assess potential danger in our environment, when we become entrenched in a particular perspective or thought pattern, we constrict our awareness of new possibilities.
Inflexibility in perspective separates us from the whole. When we grasp tightly to a sense of mine (“my truth,” “my belief,” “my perspective,” etc.) we sacrifice the freedom of wholeness for the bondage of separation. Embracing the paradox of holding my perspective while acknowledging that you have a similarly compelling investment in your perspective returns us to wholeness.
From a consciousness-based point of view, all beings are the One Being in disguise – everything is God in drag. Therefore, when you hear God speaking to you from another vantage, listen to what the Sacred has to say. As the Sufi poet Hafiz writes,
“How do I listen to others?
As if everyone were my Master speaking to me his cherished last words.”
Right now, sit comfortably, close your eyes, and spend a few minutes observing the thoughts that are swimming through your mind. You’ll probably notice that at times your awareness is occupied with ideas of the past, and at other times with projections into the future. Notice the emotions generated by your various thoughts. Observe how your thoughts give rise to happiness or sadness, bring you laughter or anxiety, inspire you to take action or reinforce your fears.
For every thought in your mind there’s usually some subtle or obvious driver to reinforce a particular perspective. Your memories, desires, cultural background, education, and everything else you’ve experienced shape the way you see yourself and the world. As you spend time meditating on a regular basis, both the repetitive thought patterns and their accompanying emotions lose their tight grip on you.
As you observe them arising and disappearing in the vastness of your awareness, you will become less and less identified with your conditioned mind and its creations. They will cease to define your reality as you begin to see that they are just one perspective in a universe filled with perspectives . . . just one more expression of the infinite Divine that resides in each of us.