Let me start off by telling you some deep truths,
the first of which is that I am lying.
Let that marinate for a minute and see what happens.
It is a version of what Epimenides ruined many a party with in ancient Greece. He was well known for staggering to his feet just when things were getting going, sticking his finger in the air, and posing the question,
“If a man says he is lying, is he telling the truth?”
Way to ruin the mood Epimenides!!
Here is another way of looking at it.
Answer truthfully (yes or no) to the following question:
Will the next word you say be, “no”?
If you are like me, right about now your brain will be starting to hurt and you will be thinking of moving on.
Stay with me while I explain why seeming contradictions can help you grow your consciousness.
My mind, like yours, immediately assumes that contradictions cancel each other out.
For example, if someone tells the truth 50% of the time, and lies the other 50% of the time, then the lies they tell cancel out the truths.
They can’t be both honest and a liar.
This is a seeming contradiction, but on closer examination, it is actually true. They are both honest and a liar.
We just don’t know when they are being honest or lying.
By not jumping to contradictions we can squeeze past into the mind-splitting world of paradox.
And that is where the consciousness growthing happens.
“If you try to fail, and succeed, which have you done?”George Carlin
Being able to hold two opposing perspectives at the same time is essential for letting paradox work its magic on our minds.
I use my hands.
I consciously hold one perspective in my left hand, I might even look at it,
and I hold the other perspective in my right hand.
“On the one hand, you are delightful, and on the other hand, you are very annoying.“ How many times have we said this to someone we love?
Both are true and balanced equally in each hand.
“On the one hand, I love being here, and on the other hand, I find it really difficult.” Who hasn’t said that on a first date?
Holding two opposing perspectives at the same time splits our minds in half which is not a comfortable feeling, but it is very helpful because it opens up a space into which new consciousness grows.
“The curious paradox is that when I can accept myself just as I am, then I can change.”Carl Rogers
“What is the taste of your own tongue?”
“The only constant in life is change.”
“Cancel culture should be canceled.”
“If you’re looking for self-help, why would you read a book written by somebody else?”George Carlin
“Everything in moderation, especially moderation.”Oscar Wilde
(or Oscar The Grouch
I can never remember which,
or maybe it was the Cookie Monster)
One of the biggest paradoxes in the spiritual life is that on the one hand existence is an illusion, and on the other hand, to get the most out of the experience, I must take the illusion seriously.
Paradox is the gateway to consciousness. When your mind jumps towards contradiction gently steer it back to the deeper paradox under the apparent contradiction.
Help your mind get used to the disorienting effects of holding a paradox knowing that in the gap between the two perspectives is the space for the mystery to pour in.