Finding Balance in Paradox

During my years on the road, I have been blessed to meet many special people. Among them, there is a handful of people who made a powerful impact on my life. As I sit down to write today, one very special soul comes to mind. This adventurer truly stands out. I had heard about Sacha before I met him, but when he showed up on the farm where I was working one afternoon in late May, 2012, I didn’t know who he was. He was just a friendly hitchhiker with bare feet. I didn’t put two and two together. I had been living on this farm in Tuscany for more than three months by the time he arrived, but now I could finally put a face to the name and many stories I had heard.

As we became acquainted, I marveled at the light in his eyes. With great zest and vitality, he spoke of a life of adventure and misadventure, and valuable lessons learned in the strangest of places and ways. Sacha was almost 50 when I met him, and he had just been living and traveling in India for two years. He spoke fondly of all it offered. His life oozed inspiration. He had traveled 10 years without shoes. He had traveled two years without using money. He had traveled at length without any bags or documents of any kind, managing his way through international borders by grace alone. But even more exciting to me than his many exploits were talks we had about the wisdom that ripened within him as a result of living as he did.

Of all we discussed, one idea really stayed with me, coming up more than any other; Sacha talked about locating our own paradox – a point of tension unique to every person – and operating from that dynamic centre. He claimed this to be life’s sweet spot. But first we had to make peace with ourselves – we needed to reconcile this tension. It was a confusing idea at first, and yet as soon as he brought it up, I sensed it was full of wisdom. Intuitively, I knew he was on to something. Slowly, it settled in and began making more sense.

As I contemplated his thoughts on paradox, I realized that paradox is not incompatible with consistency. For so long, I had struggled with contradiction and paradox, but suddenly I could see that they were just part of an overarching truth. I saw that paradox represented two sides of one coin. It is only our rational minds that struggle with the division – and we are so much more than our rational minds. Rationality has an edge. We can examine rationality rationally to discover this. The truth resides beyond.

I began to see that this greater truth could not actually be expressed in words or ideas, because as soon as it was attempted, it would be sucked into the dualistic nature of language – the duality of the material world; divisions in the mind, black and white. And though this line of thought quickly became more complicated than it needed to be, it eventually led back to utter simplicity. I saw the futility of trying to define the indefinable, trying to express that which cannot be expressed. We only end up spinning in circles.

So, after chewing on all of these ideas, what does one do? In my case, finding my own paradox became of paramount importance in my life. I had long thought of myself as my own opposite, and the tension was often unbearable. Locating this ever-active and elusive point of central tension proved difficult. And once we contact it, and think we have it, it’s gone again. It seems there is no arrival – at least not in these mortal frames. But eventually we can develop a greater confidence in this practice, living from our own point of paradox, and we can gradually anchor ourselves in this delicate balance point.

The peace that is born from all this confusion is a simple understanding, which dawns on us as we step outside of these spiraling thoughts. We see that this intangible truth is the pure potential behind and within any expression. It is the pure potential present before, after and beyond all expression. This accounts for all art, all relationships, all creation – everything we have ever seen, smelt, tasted, felt, heard, said or thought. It is all creation. Every thought, word and deed is actually an attempt at connection. It is love reaching out to itself, through us – through all life. The surface story so easily distracts our senses. Don’t be swayed. Only the love within is deeply true.

Ultimately, our paradox is balance, and I know of no better way to realize it than meditation. Allowing the mind to settle, we learn to burn through our pains and fears to see with simplicity just how beautiful life is. The lessons of silence are our only true teacher. This talk is all just bubbles and fizz. See for yourself. Be still. Go deep.

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