This week’s podcast is about confronting the paradoxes in our lives: not through running away, numbing ourselves or hiding our heads in the sand, but through opening our hearts and expanding our awareness.
From watching my children develop, I’ve observed that there are few things as painful to the human psyche as a contradiction. Knowing something is true and that it’s opposite is also true can cause so much mental anguish, the effect is almost physical.
Who hasn’t wanted to scream in frustration when they’ve wanted two things equally? Or hated the person you love? Or hated yourself because of two seemingly incompatible qualities or drives?
Contradictions and paradox are an inevitable part of life, but when we run away from them, we run away from something that has the power to reveal deeper aspects of our realities and ourselves.
The trick is that our ordinary minds have no capacity for such revelations. Living in a physical world, our minds are accustomed to things being one way and not another. Confronting things that express both/and, rather than either/or, can really blow our gaskets.
And yet, contemplation – which cultivates a state in which we are lovingly engaged with the focus of our attention – can train us to see with a deeper wisdom beyond the usual five senses. It can teach us to approach contradictions with peace, compassion and acceptance, rather than reactivity and despair.
The more I focus on the topic of contemplation, the more I realize how much it can help us all during these very stressful times, and the more I realize how much it’s given me.