ParadoxWe, as human and spiritual beings, live in a great world of paradox. Centuries of philosophical and theological thinkers have pointed us toward this truth. They have instructed us to dance with life’s perplexing anomalies knowing they will always lead us away from our heads and into our hearts.

In the Upanishads we read, “Through sitting still, I travel far.”

From the Bhagavad-Gita we read, The Supreme Lord walks and does not walk. He is far away, but He is very near as well. He is within everything, and yet He is outside of everything.”

Jesus, Lao Tzu and Buddha had similar phrases as they instructed us in one form or another that we conquer by yielding, gain strength through weakness, are exalted by being humble, are made free by becoming a servant, and only lose that which we cling to.

These phrases make no sense to the human mind, and when filtered through the lens of the human ego will not find a home in our lives; their wisdom will forever escape us. It is imperative that we look at each of these teachings with spiritual eyes that transcend immediate, external gratification and short term gains.  These phrases beckon us to look beyond the illusory dichotomies and focus instead on the place of spiritual being where all true good will be found.   It is in the exercise that we move past the veil of human measurements of success and validation and into the presence of God where all abundance, victory, and well being will be discovered.   Our ability to process paradox, not only in scriptures but in our lives, is a necessary skill to achieving the state of equanimity we all seek.   It is in the dying to the ego (mental being) that we are born to eternal life! (Spiritual being)

Recently, I had the opportunity to see that my finest leadership was not in being the sole keeper of the reins but in turning the reins over to others. By empowering others to lead I became a better leader.  It makes no human sense but makes perfect spiritual sense as I follow the wisdom of the spiritual leaders quoted above.  Through trial and error I have found that silence can be more powerful than passionate language.  A step back can become a step forward.  Our greatest ability to facilitate change is sometimes found in our vulnerability and humility and not our authority.  In order to make these discoveries we all have to make peace with our human inclinations to control and dictate as we assure the voices in our head that all will be okay.

I would love to say that I always dance the graceful dance with these inevitable paradoxes but I cannot.  I can say that I am a little closer to gliding across the dance floor of life and leadership because I have fallen down and stepped on toes.   Perhaps my recent series on Richard Rohr’s book Falling Upward is still alive in me.  I hope it is for you too.

This week, I invite and challenge all of us to take the road less traveled, look with new eyes, and dance in the ballroom of paradox that brings new found possibilities for our UNA spiritual partnership.

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