The real danger of dogmatism and certainty is that they do not leave space in the soul for love to take root and grow.
Source: Certainty, Faith and Love | Dr David G Benner
I found this older post by David Benner o be most appropriate advice at the neginning of a new year. Here is just a quote:
‘Physicist Neils Bohr is famous for saying that while the opposite of a correct statement is a false one, the opposite of a profound truth is often another, seemingly contradictory, profound truth. No where is this more true than in the case of spiritual truths. But in order to grasp the larger truth – or better, to be grasped and held by it – it is essential that we be prepared to hold the tension associated with the two apparently contradictory elements.’
“Paradox” comes from two Greek words: para + doksos, meaning beyond the teaching or beyond the opinion. A paradox emerges when you’ve started to reconcile seeming contradictions, consciously or unconsciously. Paradox is the ability to live with contradictions without making them mutually exclusive, realizing they can often be both/and instead of either/or. G. K. Chesterton said that “a paradox is often a truth standing on its head to get our attention”!
“Dialectic” is the process of overcoming seeming opposites by uncovering a reconciling third. The third way is not simply a third opinion. It’s a third space, a holding tank, where you hold the truth in both positions without dismissing either one of them. It often becomes the “house that wisdom builds” (Proverbs 9:1-6). It’s really the fruit of a contemplative mind.
Contemplation gives us an inner capacity to live with paradoxes and contradictions. It is a quantum leap in our tolerance for ambiguity and mystery. More than anything else, this new way of processing the moment is what moves us from mere intelligence, or correct information, to what we normally mean by wisdom or non-dual thinking. The contemporary mind has almost no training in dialectical thought processes or how to think paradoxically. In fact, what it often means to be “smart” is the ability to make more and more clever distinctions! And we never experience things in their wholeness, thus the angry politics and the angry religion that is overwhelming so many of us today.
Adapted from Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps, p. 53;
Holding the Tension: The Power of Paradox,
discs 1 and 3 (CD, MP3 download);
and Eager to Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi, pp. 71-72
Gateway to Silence:
Abide in the One who holds everything together.
Spiritual teachers teach in the language of paradox and mystery and what seems like contradiction, but then they show us that it is not contradiction at all. I know paradox is not a word that we use much in our everyday life. Let me define a paradox very simply: A paradox is seeming contradiction which is not really contradictory at all if looked at from another angle or through a larger frame. A paradox always demands a change on the side of the observer. If we look at almost all things honestly we see everything has a character of paradox to it. Everything, including ourselves, and most especially God, has some seeming contradictions, some mysterious parts that we cannot understand or explain. Can you think of an exception? Continue reading “Richard Rohr on Paradox”
God is the only one we can surrender to without losing ourselves. In fact, we find our deepest, truest, and most loving self in God. Yet it is still a paradox. I am increasingly convinced that all true spirituality has the character of paradox to it, precisely because it is always holding together the Whole of Reality, which is always “everything.” Everything in this world is both attractive and non-attractive, light and darkness, passing and eternal, life and death—at the same time. Don’t just accept my statement here, but think about this philosophically, physically, biologically, or scientifically. Everything has different sides, levels, truths, perspectives, and potential problems that it carries along with it.
A paradox is something that appears to be a contradiction, but from another perspective is not a contradiction at all. You and I are living paradoxes, and therefore most prepared to see ourselves in all outer reality. If you can hold and forgive the contradictions within yourself, you can normally do it everywhere else, too. If you cannot do it in yourself, you will actually create, project, and revel in dichotomies everywhere else.
Adapted from Holding the Tension: The Power of Paradox (CD, DVD, MP3)
Culture is both a prism that reflects light and a prison that rejects light.
NEW E-BOOK http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00BWSW76E
I don’t think the important thing is to be certain about answers nearly as much as being serious about the questions.
When we hold spiritual questions, we meet and reckon with our contradictions, with our own dilemmas; and we invariably arrive at a turning point where we either evade God or meet God. Mere answers close down the necessary struggle too quickly, too glibly, and too easily.
When we hang on the horns of dilemmas with Christ—between perfect consistency and necessary contradictions—we find ourself in the unique place I call “liminal space.” Reality has a cruciform shape to it then—and we are taught best at the intersection of order and disorder, where God alone can make sense out of the situation and we must surrender. All real transformation of persons takes place when we’re inside of such liminal space—with plenty of questions that are open to God and grace and growth. Continue reading “Richard Rohr on Paradox”