What is paradox and why do we often encounter it during spiritual development? Paradox is defined as, “a situation, person, or thing that combines contradictory features or qualities.” One big example? The notion- in spiritual circles- that human beings hold both light and shadow simultaneously, is paradox.
How does paradox show up in our spiritual journey?
Well, does the journey even NEED to be spiritual for paradox to rear its head? Human beings by their very nature are paradoxical; one moment kind and gregarious and then in an instant cruel and cunning. Our wide swing of emotions so fast and so normal, we don’t even recognize that it’s happening. But we’re in the midst of spiritual development! We need to be all light and love, right?
Even though paradox is second nature to human beings we HATE it. We point it out to others whenever we can; going to task by digging up perfect arguments, proof (so easy now with social media documenting every move) that a person isn’t what they profess or who they seem to be. But here’s the thing: we’re so uncomfortable with other’s paradox because we are disgusted by our own.
Yup, our own: as above, so below; as within, so without; as the universe, so the soul.
The universe is paradoxical. We are paradoxical. There is no crazy surprise here. Everything… EVERYTHING… is a microcosm (a smaller version), of the whole. In the Universe exists beauty and love and good and happiness and laughter… but also hate and rage and death and pain and so many tears. The reconciliation of this great paradox- that the full range of love and hate can exist simultaneously- has pretty much been the purpose of organized religion since day one.
It’s critically important that we recognize this and hold space for the wide range of human experience- and to not shame or “spiritually bypass” those “lower vibrational” emotions and feelings that scare us or are not “preferred”.
The purpose of our spiritual journey is connecting with Source, with “The One”
If the Universe has love, terror, fear, and good things.. so do we. Which means we can be holy and good and have integrity but we can also be evil and hateful. We need to hold all of what the Universe has to offer: because if it is OUT THERE and it is INSIDE US too. We cannot come to the full understanding of Source without full acceptance of all that is: the good AND the bad at the same time.
That’s a main part of why paradox.. why opposite.. triggers us so much. It’s a constant edge we push up against. We want to be all light and no shadow. So we deny our shadow exists.
The universe is clever, though, and so those shadow parts that want to be known project from us onto others. And when that happens- look out- trigger city.
And so, part of the “The Work” is to delve into the shadow and the triggers with almost childlike curiosity. To notice them- to see them for what they are- and to work through them. Always coming back to asking: what is the teacher in my trigger and where is it illuminating my own hidden self? My own paradox? When I am upset with another’s “darkness” how do I see that darkness also in myself?
That’s the BIG work- it’s scary and it requires us to be brutally honest and dive deep into our shame that yes, in us too, is that darkness we care not to see. When we find paradox in our own spiritual development- greet it like you would a friend! It is a part of you and wants to be acknowledged. And… at this current point in our history, it’s critical we do this work, for how do we bring our Country’s shadow to light if we cannot even acknowledge our own?
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