“How wonderful that we have met with a paradox. Now we have some hope of making progress.” ~ Niels Bohr
“You are doomed to make choices. This is life’s greatest paradox.” ~ Wayne Dyer
The paradox of embracing paradox is it’s counter intuitive. I can hear you say, “Duh. Otherwise there wouldn’t be any paradox. “ Yes I get that but what does it mean for you? Isn’t that a more interesting topic?
Actually I am going to blend the two topics together to create clarity from this confusion. And I’m going to use limits to show how you can be free – that’s where the paradoxical thinking comes in.
You Can’t See What You Don’t Look For
“Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world.” ~ Arthur Schopenhauer
Imagine Shakespeare was correct and all the world is indeed a stage and you are merely a player. Thus your life is actually playing out in 2 different dimensions – the one you see as your life and the background you don’t see. Much like when you watch a movie you see the action but you don’t see the sets, cameramen, microphones, etc. that are all “off stage”.
So here’s the big idea of this article:
The things you struggle against in your life are put there by the workers “off stage” to help you the most. By embracing this paradox you transmute what you think limits you into what sets you free.
So let’s take two definite aspects of your life that you see as limitations and I’ll pull back the curtain so you can peek backstage to see what’s really going on. For this example we will use time and space.
Embracing Limits Transforms Them into Springboards
“Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them.” ~ Albert Einstein
Time and space are partners in your freedom – they seem like limitations but are actually the only way you can you can achieve limitlessness.
Take this moment in your life – this exact time and space you are in, as you are reading these words pause for a minute and think of the top 5 things that you are unhappy with in your life. Fill them in the list below.
So look over this list. How many of them are things that happened in the past? How many are things you worry about happening in the future? Most importantly, how many of these things on this list are happening right now – this very instant in time in your exact space. Hint: If the answer is zero then all these things belong either to the past or the future.
Accepting What Is Unlocks the Door of Change
“The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.” ~ Carl Rogers
We have a tendency to create unhappiness in our right now by dragging forward our past hurts or pulling in our fears about our future. So that’s how time and space seem to limit us. They both create the illusion of limiting the manifestation of what we want so we resist and push against them. How many times have you said, there’s never enough time, time has slipped away from me, or I don’t have time. Or maybe you’ve said, I wish I made different choices so I could be somewhere else right now, or I don’t like where I am, or why doesn’t my life look like I want it to?
It feels like we have so many dreams; the mountain house, the exotic vacation to a luxury spa on a tropical island, that red convertible, a better house, job, family or even a life lived in a different fashion, yet because of the restrictions of time and space we feel constrained from attaining what we really want.
When the truth is time and space give you the ultimate freedom to experience happiness in a perpetual NOW.
Big Paradox Alert
“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” ~ Wayne Dyer
Time and space exist so you can’t get everything you want all at once. What good would that be? I have a friend who says, “You can’t have everything, where would you put it?” And literally that’s true. If your wishes manifested the instant you had them you’d be so crowded you’d be trapped. Think hoarder on steroids.
Their purpose is to give us the opportunity to really enjoy the experience we are having to its fullest. So by embracing time and space you are liberating yourself to fully enjoy right now, which is true freedom.
We spend lots of time acting like our life is not IT and that one day we will arrive at IT and then things will get good. But that’s the exact thinking that is creating your unhappiness. Get happy by getting that THIS IS IT. Loving what is right now opens up the space to actually create more of what you want. Struggling against THIS IS IT imprisons your creativity so only through embracing THIS AS IT can you experience the freedom creativity offers.
Now is the Only Place You Can Experience Happiness
“One cannot collect all the beautiful shells on the beach.” ~Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Literally you cannot collect all the shells on the beach and you wouldn’t want to. What good would the beach be if it was stripped clean of its gifts? The purpose of the beach is to enjoy being there while you are there. Don’t miss its magic by bemoaning the fact that you can’t collect all the shells or by thinking about how little time you have there. This thinking takes you away from the happiness that is always present in your present.
Paradoxes are easy to miss because we are used to looking at the reality we see instead of looking for the reality that’s available to us. For example, you think your life has external constraints when those constraints are wholly created by your point of view. Once you change perspectives then you open up to new possibilities that were not available to you before. So life’s paradox is you holding all the power while thinking your life is limited.
Once you shift views then you peek past the paradox and catch sight of the magical mysteries that are available for you. Come with me down this enchanted rabbit hole – don’t worry I’ll hold your hand – and experience the freedom that awaits you.