Orion On Dancing With Paradox
Speaker: …I have found that all the unresolved feelings I have about my brother leaving are replicated in my having lost track of the pet I had and gave away...and also my helplessness with my mother’s illness and fears. A lot of my energy seeps out, leaks with these concerns… especially the sense of helplessness, the sense of wanting to know what do…
The theme here is our powerlessness and the pain of the powerless. In your case, the role you were given and took on in the family was the ‘pragmatic see-er’ – the one who sees. The one who also would say, ‘Yes, but now we must do that.’ Yes, our brother is gone, but you must feed the other children. Yes, our father is lying, but you must pay the bills. Your role was to ‘remind’ the other person in a way of reality; of their responsibility and in that, remind them of their capacity. The ‘danger’ in your early life was people not paying attention to the Now. This is your own version of the theme we all eventually must face – that there is only a modicum of true control we are given in life. We must come to face this; and if we don’t face it consciously, we all face it unconsciously.
The culture wants the coffee to not be too hot and the food to not be fattening and on and on; holding everyone else responsible. This cultural fear may serve as the dark night of the soul, the overwhelming quality that will eventually break through to the realization that there are no guarantees and that the maturing of consciousness has to be found in the acceptance of our powerlessness. But this recognition offers a different quality of acceptance. It is not the burdensome, defeated acceptance of ‘Oh well, that is the way it is.’
Rather, there is another more freeing quality available when we consider our powerlessness in a deeper way and with it feel our connectedness with Mystery - that which we do not understand and may not understand. We can have ease with ‘we don’t really know’ and more scary, ‘we may not come to know’. This ease with mystery, the unknown, supports us to be with that which is present and to accept it as the flow of life.
In the end, what we can do is say, ‘I will do what I can do.’ The root of having the spiritual path is the recognition that you are part of, you are, the All. And in the All there is the ineffable quality. There is that which cannot be spoken; that which cannot be comprehended by us as we are. When we allow the feeling of some recognition of our participation with this flow of life, this Presence, this Being, that recognition can support our being present with the paradoxical movement of life - all the presents, the moments, the ‘now’s we experience.
We have said for many years, that the basis of being in this reality is that it is of seeming paradox. We emphasize 'seeming' paradox because in the greater sense it is not two different things, opposite things occurring at the same time. Yet in the everyday, relative sense, our experience is just that. We all experience the push-pull – of the inner dynamic, the outer dynamic, of the cultural dynamic. We try to deny this reality with the illusion that there should not be this push-pull. Rather, we can ease into acknowledgement of what is, considering, ‘Ah yes, life often feels like the push-pull of these paradoxical things’ We can think of life as being in the water or being in the air where we are, indeed moved by the movement in the sea; the movement in the wind.
Speaker: One of my most brilliant acting teachers, teaches you to give yourself a paradox right before your performance. Because it is in the unsolvable, in the mystery, in the void, that the most energy lives for us. And in that void comes all of our talent and capacity to grow where no one else has gone before. So I love what you are saying about the paradox
because that is the most energized place in life.
And in being with seeming paradox, we can allow clarity, comprehension and alignment, especially that which comes not as we at all imagined it. That called ‘right action’ flows and leads us from the place where we wait and the place that we do not know the answer. And we all know that often the things of alignment in our lives were not indeed what we
consciously thought would have been the answer.
So often our lives take a profound and beneficial, beautiful or delightful turn, from that which is least wanted – from a difficulty or challenge, from a pain, from a loss. We know this concept. Another cultural illusion is that all choice is ours to make and at times that can feel very burdensome. Rather, we see it is a dance of choice and non-choice, of allowing and permitting.
There are times in life that you can only do what is presented to you to do and that may be very limited. You cannot go in an align the situation. You cannot heal. You cannot make everything be all right. It is not given to you to do in these circumstances.
Children often carry the wounds of their inability to take action and have impact on the family situations. It is difficult to be the child who finds that all one’s brightness, sparkle, truth, on one’s essence was not enough to reach the parent.
Speaker: I am thinking of having a child, but there are aspects of me and my partner that resists this. I am wondering how this all relates to the echoes of my childhood ...
Again, paradox. You speak of this possibility with passion and clarity and yet, the action doesn’t come forward and you cannot find ‘Yes; this is what we shall do.’
So we can pause, wait, and inquire; ask further questions of yourself. What if having a child is not anything like your dreams? What if it is a child that has a difficulty or doesn’t bond with you? Or what if your partner cannot agree or the relationship changes? Can you allow the feelings of all the possibilities?
Often when we reach an equilibrium with our life, we begin to feel we can ‘rebalance’ the pain and challenges of our lives. As in, ‘I will bring to my child what was not brought to me.’ Quite naturally we are all pulled to see life this way. But we must be aware of ramifications one simply cannot see from the beginning. It may delight the soul and heart to honor that unseen child but you may also find, that this child wants still something else that is not there for you to give and thus, this relationship too will have its own inherent conflict. It is important to wonder about and seek our inherent assumptions, particularly as we enter into decisions that have great impact on another.
Speaker: I am afraid that if I can’t give it to myself, I can’t give it to a child.
Yes, this is a usual thought, but the whole proposition is not accurate. There is nothing to be given. There is nothing to be gotten. You are not an imperfect person because you still have fear. Again, a seductive myth of current culture is that we truly want to believe that all things are possible and that we can do whatever we want. We do not mean to take away dreams, but there are things one will not do. We see people driven more into sadness and depression of how they have failed their dreams, rather than being supported by the idea that one can do anything, that all things are possible. Here again, we limit ourselves by not recognizing the truth that is present, including our limitations.
All the energy goes to the next, the what else, the later or the failed past. And while some people may act this out in material things, the new and better automobile; others feel the pain and loss of the possibility they did not actualize.
And what is not considered in our 'Culture of the Next' is this question: what if you are just as you are and that there is an alignment of being ‘just as you are’? And what can I see here just where I am?
As you ask all these questions, you are going to have to come to a place of trying to really allow what comes present. And in such questions we invite our recognition of alignment. Willingness to question, to expose to the self, to expose to the other and in these exposures acknowledge and accept what is revealed provides the energy that leads to the flow of alignment. A negative, giving up acceptance is not required.
Simply giving up the energy of what it at first seems you want is the answer. There truly has to be a coming into alignment of it. And remember as well that sometimes resistance is discernment and sometimes moving ahead is moving forward without full examination.
Can we consider making no movement; letting the situation just ‘sit’? Can we choose to is step aside from what we already know? This does not demean your own knowing and intelligence, but also allows deeper intelligence to come present. Can we consider giving up our ideas in this moment toward being led by the All; toward letting the alignment present itself?
In the end, we see most people resist letting Presence lead. They fear it is a cosmic trick or a capitulation or that they will be punished for not doing it themselves. Even to those who feel they are on a ‘spiritual path’, the idea of just opening to alignment, inviting alignment and really waiting to see what it is – is very challenging. Very few do it easily. But ah, you don’t have to do it easily.
You can do it with a push-pull, with a challenge. Ease is not the only signifier of alignment! You can consider all your plans and ideas and still keep open the door of ‘I am willing to consider what else’. ‘I am willing to consider what is really aligned in a way that perhaps ‘I’ cannot see in this moment.’
The root of this allowing is actually not being powerless at all. The root of this allowing and inviting can be the recognition that you are in dialogue with the All and a dialogue of the All. And if you are truly wanting to offer yourself up as service for expression of ‘right action’ in the world, then you are doing this with an awareness, with an offering that is truly of being in power, particularly if you think of that the root of the word power is to make, to create, as opposed to control.
We can take our concerns about what seems to not move or shift and say, ‘All right. It seems all this to me. What else is there? I am willing to listen. I am willing to consider. I am willing to let it become clear and move me.’ At the same time allow your dreams, your thoughts, your plans.
Speaker: The image that keeps coming to me is allowing one of us to be the circumference of the circle and allowing the other to be the diameter of the circle and then the energy together becomes Pi. And the Infinite then has space to come through us.
And then you can dance between those roles as well. Now you are the circumference and now I am the diameter, etc. In being willing to consider and question, we can loosen the parameters of the comprehending mind. The conscious mind operates efficiently, usefully and successfully based on the known and this takes us to repeated cycles and loops. Thinking, dreaming, or imagining still tend to follow the patterns of the known. To really allow the true 'next' we have to engage other –deeper, further more expansive than only the conscious mind.
What is wonderful, exciting and usually forgotten, is that the conscious mind has an incredible, infinite capacity to recognize and then make use of that which has been completely unknown to it. It can then actualize the radical, the next, the different, the fresh. And it always recognizes the not yet known in some way because, of course, it too is aligned with the All, which is where this fresh, other perspective emerges and is birthed from. So we are all involved in still another lovely dance.
Difficulty arises when we allow or respect only one aspect of discernment. The mind is very dominant. And by mind, we mean the whole cultural-psychological-social construct. Yet, when we invite in this other, you are not putting aside your own discerning intelligence. You are going to let your discerning intelligence flow in afterwards and be the actualizer.
We already do this, but the model of doing this is less known than the model of thinking and planning and making things happen. What we need to learn is that not controlling everything doesn’t mean we are powerless. It means that we can actually allow something else by stepping out of direct, egoic control. The culture finds this very challenging but individuals come to it personally, bit by bit.
It can be very exciting to allow and permit; to consider more letting go and offering up. Offering yourselves up to the All. Again, it is not a giving up; a capitulation. Rather, we offer a willingness to see what is to be seen; to see true; to see more. And you are being asked as well to sit in discernment and responsible step into that which comes forward.
Do remember that synchronicity in and of itself is not alignment. Synchronicity can seem to attract energy, come together and flow and yet, you still have to sit for a moment and again, allow the discernment of right action to come forward. Many a person has had something that all came together and then later, they see, ‘Oh I missed that part’ and it turns out to be a difficult thing.
Of course, in the end it is all sort of right turn and left turn. But when we hear people say ‘Spirit told me to do this’ we often find that is exactly when they are not using discernment. Sometimes that which feels most strong, is in fact, unexpressed and unexamined want, not the true flow of Presence.
Edited from a personal session with permission
Featured in Expansion - the Orion Wisdom newsletter April 2004