In ancient times, anyone who wished to enter the imposing temple at the top of the hill and reach the innermost sanctum of Truth had to pass through the gate guarded by two forbidding figures, usually a pair of lions.
One embodied contradiction, the other paradox. You didn’t have a chance of arriving at Ultimate Reality without transcending, even losing, your mind.
Paradox comes from the Greek word paradoxon, meaning outside or beyond prevailing opinion or belief. This concept is more challenging than contradiction, in that it points to a real possibility, not just some verbal or logical trick.
A paradox is a person, condition or action that can’t be, but actually IS. You can’t simply walk away from it. You’ve got to deal with it. Paradox is built into the very condition of being human.
Let’s look at some paradox examples:
Here is a brief video that explains the same concept differently:
We may wonder why we even have to deal with paradox, why our senses are misleading, and our reasoning is fallible and limited. The answer lies in the major traditions, cutting-edge science and the mystical experience.
Faith postulates that there is an order of reality beyond the senses, which is senior to the world of the senses. The invisible is more real than the visible.
Modern science has shown us that our Earth is not flat, even though it looks that way to us, that the Earth actually spins around the sun, even though the opposite seems to be the case. It has even shown that we have no tiniest particle in our bodies, and the particles, themselves, are more like waves than particles.
Mysticism reveals that all is ONE, that when I get in touch with who I am, and you get in touch with who you are, we will encounter the same Self. This is more than just a theory. It is the direct experience of many who plunge into meditation and other disciplines.
We live in a paradoxical Universe. Every day you run into paradox without recognizing it. If you are like most of us, it is far more comfortable to believe what you have always believed than it is to open up and question everything. However, if you don’t acknowledge the way things are, you may end up living a lie.
Related article: Your Perception of Reality Is Holding You Back
Life can have a purpose, and you can even fulfill your destiny, but you will never entirely figure it out. Life is not logical. Life just IS. As Jose Ortega Y Gasset put it, “Life is fired at us point blank.”
The possibility then arises for you to join the great artists, poets, scientists and mystics and relish paradox. Not only will you find it illuminating, but also fun.
Zen gives us the delightful story of a monk asking his master, Joshu, “Do I have Buddha Nature?” Joshu responded, “Mu,” which has much the implication of our word, “No.” The monk is dismayed. “You said dogs have Buddha nature. Then why not me?” Joshu quipped, “Because you ask all these silly questions!”