A Perpetual Paradox

Horns of dilemma or slippery paradox? | Photo by  Mat Laurent  on  Unsplash

Horns of dilemma or slippery paradox? | Photo by Mat Laurent on Unsplash

Paradox is the first of four corner-stones in the Foundations of Wild Poplars. If you’ve visited the Architect’s Shed you may have noticed it’s a word which punctuates most posts.

Hmm - but what IS a paradox exactly? According to Oxford Dictionaries (online) it’s, ‘a seemingly absurd or contradictory statement or proposition which when investigated may prove to be well founded or true.’

A paradox stands astride two or more contradictory perspectives and meets them saying, ‘yes and no, this is and isn’t true…’ It sits between the two horns of a dilemma.

I love paradoxes because they have the breadth to acknowledge the whole. For a superb verbal essay on the subject, go listen to our paradoxically ‘Absent Lodger’ of the Foundations, Tami Simon, visionary creator of Sounds True speaking on this subject. You can also read why she’s the Lodger here.

Paradox is a slippery beast which Resident Musician Robin Jones (yes, the ‘Jones’ of the Darcy Jones) might have been speaking of when he said, ‘The only thing worth talking about you can’t talk about….’

Robin penned those words as the end to ‘Simply This’, a book of non-duality poems I self-published way back when we spent our time in timeless wonder at the non-dual aspects of life. If you want to sit with this subject, go and be with Tony and Claire Parsons who - with great joy and clarity - will irresistibly point to the paradox of life until your mind simply gives up…

Words are, of course, hopeless. And yet they appear and perhaps something is felt between the lines?

We see life life as dual, black and white, this and that, yin and yang and yet they are clearly opposite faces of one head. Together they are both and neither a third (or single) element: ‘this’, ‘life’, ‘being’ or whatever else your mind wants to label both source and its expression.

’So what?!’ may be your response. ‘What good or difference does this make to the planet, my life? How does straddling paradox change the system or DO anything to create a more compassionate world?’ When I come from embracing paradox, I see love in action and loving inaction point to the same place - being so present that love is all there is. Huh? Read on…

In reality, ‘knowing’ meets ‘not-knowing’ in the straddling of paradox. From the painful squeeze of dilemma we find the opportunity to pass through the ‘dis-ease’ of getting caught on its horns to the place between them. And, there, humility may allow us to consider paradox.
— Pearl's Pearl

Perhaps this the rather soft point of paradox… To embrace (the clue is in that word) it we cannot use thought. It demands compassion. It requires stepping out of an entrenched position, it prompts a movement, an expansion, a seeing from a different perspective. Paradox is a doorway to the ‘heart-scape’ of consciousness.

That movement is, in itself, an inner action, a response which takes the hand of responsibility in the moment. We ‘come together’ and unified action emerges. This may not necessarily be the action of two or more people, but it is acting which is whole - which means healthy. It is unpolluted because is free of conflict, the integrated action of head, heart and body. Often something serendipitous or unimaginable results.

Here’s a small example. I was in a depression of ‘should I continue with the whole Wild Poplars project’ and questioning my shaky start to penning The Foundations. I went to bed heavy and low, but slowly inched towards the paradox that the answer might be not EVER knowing the answer… Sleep came remarkably swiftly. I woke and turned to a chapter in Pema Chodron’s ‘Start Where You Are’ entitled ‘pulling the rug’ (see last post for relevance and serendipity) and was stunned to see these words:

None of us is okay and all of us are fine. It’s not just one way. We are walking, talking paradoxes.’ Boom! Boom!

Perhaps, too, we are also walking, talking metaphors