Awake in the gap
Between one and the other
I come a-life
To live in paradox is an attitude that allows for spaces of intensity to open up. A paradox becomes productive when it is not resolved. When the tension between the apparent opposition is allowed to resonate into the practice. It is not a question of solving the problem, of creating a particularly attractive shade of grey. Rather, the suspension of dissolving the tension, or of choosing either/or, allows for a much more alert practice.
Like the artist that refuses to ‘choose’ between transparency and obscurity in his work, the monk is not making it easy on himself by ignoring what is at hand. In the artist’s case, too much trans-parency make the work perfectly ‘understandable’ but ultimately bland. Whereas an overall obscurity robs the artwork of its mystical potential to speak to whomever it encounters. It is in the tension territory between these two extremes that the work can breathe freely, shapeshift in the gaze of the beholder, and become a place of contemplation, intense experience and shared intuition.
In the Monastery Productive Paradoxes are what shape the daily practice. An obvious one is the false paradox between Discipline and Freedom. In the Monastery discipline is not what takes away your freedom, but exactly the thing that opens up a space and time to experience it. By embracing the paradox as a whole, without favouring either side, it creates an enormous space of vibration and liveliness.
Moreover, the Productive Paradox creates an attitude of alertness, of awareness not to fall into the trap of easy solutions. There is no redemption in absolute discipline, as there is no liberation in absolute freedom. Only the weaving of patterns in the aftermath of duality is making something visible that was not there before. Not by reducing everything to the One, but by creating force fields for practice in-between the one the two the three the multiple.