- Religion and Philosophy»
- Exploring Religious Options
The author in 1987
Paradox and Trancendence
Paradox is defined as:
1. a statement or proposition that seems self-contradictory or absurd but in reality expresses a possible truth
2. a self-contradictory and false proposition
3. a person, thing, or situation exhibiting an apparently contradictory nature
4. an opinion or statement contrary to commonly accepted opinion.
Do we live our lives in contradiction? It would seem so. We tell ourselves if we work more, we can earn more free time. Then when we have free time we worry about work. We say all we want is our freedom, yet when a relationship ends, we are lonely and we don't want that either. Life is one contradiction, one paradox after another.
I heard a statistic on the news the other night that more than 600 million people on the planet work more than 48 hours every week! I hear my young students tell me they think with a Bachelors degree from college they will earn 100K at an entry level job. I hear others complain they have a job but are unwilling to take a job that does not pay them what they deserve.
There are many others who work, I am certain to just make ends meet. They earn little money for the amount of work they do. They live hand to mouth, poverty a cyclic menace in their lives. We know there are obese people on the planet and others dying of starvation. Are we, as a people not able to find balance in the conditions of our lives?
There is also spiritual paradox. The world is full of differing interpretations of the words of ancient spiritual text and also individual's ideas of truth. An example of this is some truly believe we have a vengeful God, one that is waiting to "catch us" in the midst of sin, while others embrace the idea of a loving God, one who understands human frailties and is willing to forgive. There are more paradoxes in living a spiritual life. How many people do you know who had to rise up again from adversity in order to help others? We all have the opportunity to practice kindness and compassion, but in our everyday lives, we find it a difficult task to adhere to. We are, after all, spiritual beings having a human experience!
Life is one big adventure in paradoxical living…doing one thing, saying another. And trying to balance both sides daily.
How can we alter the daily paradox in our own lives?
Must we die to ourselves in order to achieve fullness?
We have heard the expression "full of yourself", which is someone completely full of ego. We also have heard someone say they were empty, lost and without hope. Can we be full of ourselves in emptiness? Is there a way to balance the paradox we have in our lives in order to balance the more important things we were born to do?
Meyer Baba said:
"We must lose ourselves in order to find ourselves; thus loss itself is gain. We must die to self to live in God; thus death means life. We must become completely void inside to be completely possessed by God; thus complete emptiness means absolute fullness. We must become naked of selfhood by being nothing, so as to be absorbed in the infinity of God; thus nothing means EVERYTHING."
Thus spiritual paradox asks us to become no-thing, and then every-thing….
What exactly is a spirit of Transcendence?
There are many explanations of this term, one I found was: the state of excelling or surpassing or going beyond usual limits.
This is a portion of a speech given by Vaclav Havel, the president of the Czech Republic, given in Independence Hall, Philadelphia on July 4, 1994. At end of his speech Havel speaks about the ability for all of us to transcend our perceptions of the divisions in the world by the awareness of yourselves as citizens of the world.
"…the only real hope of people today is probably a renewal of our certainty that we are rooted in the earth and, at the same time, in the cosmos. This awareness endows us with the capacity for self-transcendence."
Further he posits: "…(Human rights) will mean nothing as long as this imperative does not derive from the respect of the miracle of Being, the miracle of the universe, the miracle of nature, the miracle of our own existence. "
We truly need to love ourselves in order to be able to transcend the limits of our individual lives into global cohesion, both in nature and soul healing.
His speech is riveting in that while it was written and expounded almost thirteen years ago, it speaks to our global needs today and also to our continued work to build paths to unity in the world, as inhabitants of Mother Earth.
Havel asserts: "Only someone who submits to the authority of the universal order and of creation, who values the right to be a part of it and a participant in it, can genuinely value himself and his neighbors, and thus honor their rights as well."
Have we been missing the boat? Is there too much of an agenda in our own countries of origin that speaks to the ethnocentrism of individual states (of mind)? Are we not globally connected? And yet here we are globally connecting . . . so are we working the vision of which Havel speaks?
Then he comes up with more fascinating words of action:
"It logically follows that, in today's multi-cultural world, the truly reliable path to coexistence, to peaceful coexistence and creative cooperation, must start from what is at the root of all cultures and what lies infinitely deeper in human hearts and minds than political opinion, convictions, antipathies, or sympathies - it must be rooted in self-transcendence."
I believe this with all my heart! Action can be made on an individual level by working to achieve self-transcendence or excelling and surpassing ones usual limits! If we can work on this individually, and collectively imagine the changes on a planetary level! There are any such pondering's on blogs that we only give lip-service to action and then do nothing in the real world. One must however start where they are…with the self and move from that place of awareness. Havel concludes his speech with these proposals:
* Transcendence as a hand reached out to those close to us, to foreigners, to the human community, to all living creatures, to nature, to the universe.
Are we not working on this at some level through connecting, sharing, learning and growing across the globe?
* Transcendence as a deeply and joyously experienced need to be in harmony even with what we ourselves are not, what we do not understand, what seems distant from us in time and space, but with which we are nevertheless mysteriously linked because, together with us, all this constitutes a single world .
Acceptance of others and their opinions, transgressions, jaded pasts and shadow healing… however different from our own, showing us all how truly human we are.
And finally he says:
* Transcendence as the only real alternative to extinction.
Do you think what we believe and conceive we can achieve?
Havel has a lot of food for thought here. Enjoy the feast, but leave room for dessert!
Blessings on a swift and exhilarating transcendence!
The magic carpet ride around the world in love!