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Spiritual Paradox

At some point in our pursuit of spiritual understanding we encounter teachings that seem to represent opposing beliefs or points of view. Some teachings suggest that we need to make efforts in order to experience self-realization. Other teachings dismiss spiritual practices and suggest that all you need to do is ‘wake up’ from the false reality (illusion) to realize who you truly are. In the seeker’s mind such apparent contradiction appears as one of many spiritual paradoxes that may create stumbling blocks of doubt and confusion.

It is the mind that is bothered and can’t relax when it encounters paradox. The mind’s habit of linear, either/or thinking doesn’t allow for the possibility of conflicting both/and statements to be true. To the thinking mind a paradox is a strange phenomenon, yet once you accept that it’s there, it is no longer bothersome. The wisdom of pa
radoxes is that they transcend our thought system, they are in tune not just with intelligence, but with existential wisdom that is at the root of deep and meaningful personal discovery.

A key to accepting paradoxes is often found by recognizing that multiple perspectives can be seen as being equally valid, and you start by exploring the viewpoints within your thinking, your everyday life, and your world. 

 

Quotes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The measure of your enlightenment is the degree to which you are comfortable with paradox, contradiction, and ambiguity.
~ Deepak Chopra

A paradox is not a conflict with reality. It is a conflict between reality and your understanding of it.
~ Neale Donald Walsch

The paradox is really the pathos of intellectual life and just as only great souls are exposed to passions it is only the great thinker who is exposed to what I call paradoxes, which are nothing else than grandiose thoughts in embryo.
~ Soren Kierkegaard

Affirmations are like screaming that you're okay in order to overcome this whisper that you're not. That's a big contrast to actually uncovering the whisper, realizing that it's a passing memory, and moving closer to all those fears and all those edgy feelings that maybe you're not okay. Well, no big deal. None of us is okay and all of us are fine. It's not just one way. We are walking, talking paradoxes.
~ Pema Chodron

We are on a journey of becoming that which we already are.
That is the impossible paradox of our lives.
~ Adyashanti

The Divine Paradox is that even with the total expansion of the self to include everything, an identified, yet uncontracted self remains...nothing is lost!
~ Wayne Liquorman

It's only when caterpillarness is done that one becomes a butterfly. That again is part of this paradox. You cannot rip away caterpillarness. The whole trip occurs in an unfolding process of which we have no control.
~ Ram Dass

Why have spiritual teachers over thousand of years pointed to the idea that we are not the body?
It isn’t because you are not (now come on, your obviously here). It’s because with body identification, we forget the spirit part. We forget that we are pure consciousness. Identifying ourselves as purely body, the mind takes itself as only form, the experience of being separate from the whole results, and suffering ensues. This is for the most part, the human condition . . . .
We are both form and the formless. We are the body, we are life, and we are pure consciousness, awareness, which everything is made up of. We are the resolution of the paradox.
We are both, as One.
~ Susanne Marie

The curious paradox is
that when I accept myself
just as I am,
then I can change.
~ Carl Rogers

Reality is contradictory. And it's paradoxical. If there's any one word -- if you had to pick one word to describe the nature of the universe -- I think that word would be paradox. That's true at the subatomic level, right through sociological, psychological, philosophical levels on up to cosmic levels.
~ Tom Robbins

Wouldn't it be wonderful if you could spare them from all suffering?  No, it wouldn't.  They would not evolve as human beings and would remain shallow, identified with the external form of things.  Suffering drives you deeper.  The paradox is that suffering is caused by identification with form and erodes identification with form. A lot of it is caused by the ego, although eventually suffering destroys the ego-but not until you suffer consciously.
~ Eckhart Tolle

Live at the empty heart of paradox.
I'll dance with you there, cheek to cheek.
~ Rumi

Ramana taught that we simply need to “be as you are”. This is the spirit of unconditional allowing that is truly loving. It helps us accept the paradox of our divinity and humanity. If we can open and embrace everything – things unwind back into the substance from which they came, and ultimately everything comes out of the great mystery.
~ Miranda Macpherson

The whole world yearns after freedom, yet each creature is in love with his chains; this is the first paradox and inextricable knot of our nature.
~ Sri Aurobindo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



The I casts off the illusion of I and yet remains as I. Such is the paradox of self-realization.
~ Ramana Maharshi

You know, all mystics - Catholic, Christian, non-Christian, no matter what their theology, no matter what their religion - are unanimous on one thing: that all is well, all is well. Though everything is a mess, all is well. Strange paradox, to be sure. But, tragically, most people never get to see that all is well because they are asleep. They are having a nightmare.
~ Anthony De Mello

All major mystical traditions have recognized that there is a paradox at the heart of the journey of return to Origin.
Put simply, this is that we are already what we seek, and that what we are looking for on the Path with such an intensity of striving and passion and discipline is already within and around us at all moments. The journey and all its different ordeals are all emanations of the One Spirit that is manifesting everything in all dimensions; every rung of the ladder we climb toward final awareness is made of the divine stuff of Awareness itself; Divine Consciousness is at once creating and manifesting all things and acting in and as all things in various states of self-disguise throughout all the different levels and dimensions of the Universe.
~ Andrew Harvey

Life will always touch you in some way .. but who you really are cannot be touched.
Opening wide to allow the paradox of this means you become vaster than who you think you are.
And in this vastness, you live from the space within which everything happens.
Now you are free of your story.
~ Amoda Maa Jeevan

Now here is the paradox.
At the human level nothing really exists,
yet at the same time things begin to work for you.
This is why this teaching is beyond words and thoughts.
Do not attempt to analyze these things as I talk to you.
Do not attempt to figure it out in any way. Just let it happen.
Reality, as consciousness, exists and you don't.
Yet when you say “Consciousness is the only power,"
something happens to your humanhood.
You become happy. You couldn't care less
if they dropped an atom bomb on your head.
You couldn't care less if the doctor did tell you
you've got two weeks to live and you've got cancer or whatever.
Or you've been promoted to president of your company.
It's all the same. You feel alive.
You're not alive as most people feel. It's a universal aliveness.
You sort of feel that your cells, your atoms, are connected
to the entire universe. And you do know that all is well.
You feel wonderful.
This happens just by saying “Consciousness is the only power.”
~ Robert Adams

I have found the paradox that if I love until it hurts, then there is no hurt, but only more love.
~ Mother Teresa

The world is not what you think it is.
The world is exactly what you think it is.
Find the place within you where both
these statements are true.
~ Mooji

All of you are perfect just as you are . . . and you could use a little improvement.
~ Shunryu Suzuki

The enlightened man is capable of perceiving both unity and multiplicity without the least contradiction between them.
~ Huang Po

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself, (I am large, I contain multitudes.)
~ Walt Whitman

Any wise pondering of life eventually reveals that there are-- most paradoxically-- three simultaneously true levels of the one Nondual Reality, one of which is "Absolutely True," the others being "pragmatically" or "relatively true":
Conventional truth: The world exists ("stands out") as phenomenal appearance, vividly, palpably experiential, filled with distinct bodymind persons or sentient beings, some of them are well-behaved, some ill-behaved. One is advised to "be good, not bad," and promote justice where there is injustice, kindness where there is cruelty, integrity where there is corruption, and so forth.
Psychic truth: In this Divine dream-play of manifestation, all beings, all souls, are growing more subtle and "ripe" for spiritual awakening, and—though for some souls it may take many lifetimes—they will eventually ALL awaken to the One Divine Self, for there is only this One Self. Hence whatever happens for souls in this world or any world is perfect, Divinely meant to happen (otherwise something else would be happening).
In the highest heavenly soul-realm or psychic planes, we are all intermingling, interconnected buddhas, so whatever happens "down in the mortal realms" is dream-like limitation, an evolutionary Divine play of "Perfection perfecting Itself perfectly" (i.e., the process of the One Self transforming all selves into buddhas). In/as heavenly perfection, all of us gazillions of souls are made of the One Divine Love, Light, Joy, Peace, and Power!
~ Ramesh Balsekar

There is neither creation nor destruction.
neither destiny nor free will.
neither path nor achievement.
This is the final truth.

~ Ramana Maharshi

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