It is a paradox that we encounter so much internal noise
when we first try to sit in silence.
~ When we feel stuck, that's when we can actually discover the most movement ~
~ When I sincerely and whole-heartedly ask for what I want, it doesn't matter anymore if I get it ~
~ The deepest depression and sadness can transform into the most radiant light (my favorite living examples: Eckhart Tolle & Byron Katie) ~
~ We look outside of ourselves for answers; meanwhile, they are always inside us ~
~ We look to others to tell us who we are ~
~ In giving, we receive; in receiving, we give ~
Some audio clips from our circle of sharing on Paradox of Noise ...
Very interesting thoughts from Ganoba. It brought up for me the notion of levels of awareness. At a gross level, I live in a dual world, where I am not you and you are not me. At a subtle level, my sharp dual boundaries blur, and this is where I start noticing paradoxes. At an undifferentiated level, there are no boundaries, and I cannot ask any rational questions, because there is no "I" to begin with.
While some philosophies advocate for the undifferentiated level as the elixir of human achievement, I find a lot more depth in India's ancient Upanishads that makes me think twice before making a black-and-white judgment. For instance, the Isha Upanishad has the following in it (verse 9, quoting Aurobindo's translation):
Into a blind darkness they enter who follow after the Ignorance, they as if into a greater darkness who devote themselves to the Knowledge alone.
This is one of the most mysterious verses that unpacks its meaning when examined in the three dimensions of reality. The Vedas call all rational pursuits "avidya" or "ignorance," including the Vedas themselves, ascribing rationality to the gross level. :) Knowledge, or "vidya," is about direct experience, and exists at the level of undifferentiated reality. The subtle realm is where we dance from one to the other - there is nothing supernatural about it, or as Chris would say, it is "super" natural. Whenever we've felt love for someone, we've reached though the gross and into the undifferentiated.
What this sloka seems to be saying is that those who pursue gross reality (which also includes intellectual spiritual inquiry, such as this comment) are in darkness. And those who pursue undifferentiated reality (direct experience) are in even greater darkness! How can that be? That can only be if the underlying reality (or darkness) between the gross and the undifferentiated are one and the same, and it is a deep mistake to think one is different from the other. As Tagore so explicitly states in his poetry, there is no meaning in undifferentiated reality were it not for the gross.
On that note, when I was bringing Prof. Howard over to last Wednesday's guest talk, he commented, "Even reading the most boring book in the world is more interesting that being God." "God" is the term many cultures have ascribed to undifferentiated reality, and in that light, there is just infinite potential, but no expression.
In summary, the mind that perceives paradoxes is just as right as the mind that perceives duality, as the mind that does not exist. Time for a good laugh now. :)[Hide Full Comment]
Wonderful passage. Accepting the "paradoxes" of life in various aspects make us unravel a new meaning of the word "paradox". For ex: feeling pain releases pain, experiencing noise when we strive for inner silence, etc... in the grand scheme of things, we are not able to enjoy laughter without it being at the expense of sorrow - at some level... and perhaps all paradoxes go hand in hand with their counterparts.
Also, the point where the author says that in order to "feel" a sense of safety, we do not like paradoxes. I think that we pretend to ignore that paradoxes are an integral part of our lives, just that we ignore it hoping that it will go away.
But the more we accept that, the more security we will feel in the insecurities that these paradoxes present ;-)
Have a great day.
One of the beautiful paradoxes it that those who renounce (eg Buddhist nuns and monks) and have no money, get given (from generous adherents to this way) so much and it seems that the longer they have been renounced, the more they are offered.
And because they get to see this paradox works, they trust more in the abundance and goodness of 'the Universe' ...
and there are a whole load of beautiful things to be gained - such as the sweetness of the feeling of gratitude.....
I have seen people who talk about compassion, when asked for compassion fail!
I have seen people who talk about mercy, when asked for mercy do not give it!
I have seen people talk philosophy, when asked to be philosophical become cold!
What is the use of all the knowledge that one acquires, if one cannot bend the rules just a little in compassion for a person? What is the use of all the deep talks that one has, if one does not forgo the rigidity of life for a little mercy?
When Jesus was asked how many times must one forgive? Seven times? The son of God replied, no forgive seven times seven times seven!
No amount of teachings can turn the cold heart into a human heart!
No amount of teachings can turn the talk of compassion into actual compassion!
No amount of teachings can turn the talk of mercy into actual acts of mercy when asked for!
Life is all about giving people the benefit of doubt, of giving people a second chance to correct themselves, of not to judge your fellow men, for you do not know their predicament! If only you could see with the other man's heart and love with the other man's heart, you'd know just how it feels to be playing the other man's part![Hide Full Comment]
When we first sit or stand in silence doing consciously nothing we realise with a shock that the universe(including the part inside our skin) is humming with activity, harmonious, melodious activity. We are shocked. How can this be? when "I AM DOING NOTHING"
In shock we call it noise, a paradox, a seeming absurdity.
A little later the realisation arises that there is another I which is really the one making it all happen. Whenever this happens that is the end of our separate existence, our loneliness, our suffering, our misery.
That is the beginning of the timeless existence.
What name we call it by is immaterial.
In nature there are no paradoxes, no opposites, only oneness.
Have we ever seen a boundary, a fence, a wall in nature? Every thing is seemlessly connected to every thing else.
Paradoxes, opposites, differences, separations exist only in minds that define very sharply. Remember, "you are either with us or against us". Having cultivated this way of thinking(classifying) we finally experience the shallowness of this way of living. in rectifying the error we begin by trying to unite that which is already one. then the mind trained in the old ways plays its tricks and shows us the seemingly absurd statements, the paradoxes as also the miracles and the "wow" experiences.
Let us not fall for its tricks.
Just last night, I was thinking about the term "trying too hard." Often, when you keep "trying" to do or get something and don't seem to succeed, people will recommend that you stop trying "too hard." This is one of those ways that deep spiritual concepts show up in many people's everyday thoughts. Without realizing, perhaps, what they are referring to, they are acknowledging that when one "tries" to do or attain something, one is actually affirming their feeling separate from what it is they desire. The advice to "stop trying too hard" is a "disguise" for find your oneness with everything.
What a coincidence! I read this and received a book I had ordered called " The Ragged Edge of Silence" by John Francis. I guess the Universe is really trying to tell me something :)
Hermano Viral asks: "Which of life's paradoxes helps you attune more deeply to reality?"
The first time that really looked deep into the dark sky and scratched the surface of the-beyound-comprenhenshion vastness of the Cosmos, felt insignificant and at the same time very special for humanity is the Universe that took consciousness of itself.
To look for groundedness in this way, brings up the ultimate reality, brings up the importance to live in the present moment. In the vacuum of the intergalactic/interstellar/interplanetary space, there is a silence astronomically beautiful: Love is the breath of the Cosmos... silence is where we come from and our destiny. The meaning of our existence, the unfolding story of life, the blueprint of humanity is embedded in this beginningless note, in this endless symphony...
If we pay attention, this silence is between inhale and exhale; between exhale and inhale. It's all the time with us. It is the loud music of our attentive presence. This is one of life's paradoxes that fosters oneness at its best: to be in receptive silence to become the harmony of our hearts...
Paradoxes. Seemingly diametrically opposed or absurd statements that actually may be true.
Lately, according to this reading, it is exactly that 'deeper level of being, that loves paradoxes', where I have been living recently. The reality I connect to while enjoying this concept is found in Gunilla Norris’ last statement: ‘Through our willingness to be the one we are, we become one with everything.’
I love the time spent stilling myself and watching the thoughts. Many times I find myself giggling. I love the opportunity to take time for myself without guilt to get in touch with all the mind-stuff, referred to in Sanskrit as citta-vrtti. This is the part of me that makes me human…this function of the mind to be constantly in motion and expressing itself. I love the idea of thinking nothing of the thinking. And not knowing the knowing. And practicing non judgment…just observing what is.
I teach high school. There is such an audible din everywhere you turn, and if one can view this as a whole-as a bee swarm-instead of each of its separate parts-bee roles, judgment reduces. And, in the yoga practice, sitting in stillness and leading these precious ones into yet another opportunity of quieting for a while, brings the greatest joy and insights.
There is much to learn about our inner beauty and gifts. It’s amazing how much deep understanding is available in the time spent in a comfortable state of stillness. Listening to and experiencing the internal noise , noticing the ebb and flow of thought, and connecting to the ‘roar of existence’ is a practice needed more around the world.
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In acknowledging the paradox of being alive -- that we are at once the omnipresent oneness as well as the experience of a temporary body-mind -- we allow ourselves to relax into the arms of the NOW-moment. Ahh... it feels so good.
Tennis has been my exercise for a long time. I make time for it whenever I can and have played for over 20 years. I love it so much that I work really hard at it and try to learn and improve every which way I can. But the fact remains that I have not improved very much despite all my efforts. Coaching, just rallying and trying to relax -- none of them make a difference and every third day, I think of giving up because it becomes very frustrating.
Paradoxically, when I let go and allow the game to be what it is and stop trying to improve it, enjoy it for its own sake, something shifts. My game is at a higher level and balls fly and it does not take any effort. But when I "try" to relax, it only becomes worse. it is like allowing life to occur instead of giving a direction and intentionality to it. When I just experience it without any agenda, it moves beautifully in the direction of my deeper intent without any effort.
Of course, I appreciate it, understand this and when I consciously make it into a formula, it goes away.
Of course the rhythm of the game is like the rhythm of life as it is said in the movie Legend of Bagger Vance.[Hide Full Comment]
The biggest paradox is that life is an unfolding joke meant for my entertainment, and yet, I forget to laugh. When we watch a comedy, a spectacular failure is thoroughly enjoyed, both by the audience, and the actors who enjoy making the audience laugh. Yet, as an actor in life, I forget that I am my own audience, and the spectacular failures are the whole point of my drama for myself, and I ought to be ROFL. Now that's funny by itself! :)
"Which of life's paradoxes helps you attune more deeply to reality?"