Ideas from my teachers
…the tension that comes when I try to hold a paradox together is not hell-bent on tearing me apart. Instead, it is a power that wants to pull my heart open to something larger than myself. The tension always feels difficult, sometimes destructive. But if I can collaborate with the work it is trying to do rather than resist it, the tension will not break my heart—it will make my heart larger…Yet resolving the tension requires a supply of love that comes from beyond ourselves, provoked by the tension itself. If we are to hold paradoxes together, our own love is absolutely necessary–yet our own love is never enough. In a time of tension we must endure with whatever love we can muster until that very tension draws a larger love into the scene. There is a name for the endurance we must practice until a larger love arrives: it is called suffering. We will not be able to live in the power of paradox until we are willing to suffer the tension of opposites, until we understand that such suffering is neither to be avoided nor merely to be survived, but must be actively embraced for the way it expands our own hearts.
Parker Palmer Stephen Gilligan Jon Kabat-Zinn
Life moves through us as we move through it. The key is to find ways to respect and value each experience in its ever-changing forms…as we come back to relatedness, our experience of self as dialogue develops. Holding the tension between differences nurtures a deeper harmony and capacity to act with love and integrity. If we remain faithful to the conversation at some point what Jung termed the “transcendent function” occurs: the opposites integrate into a united form, where a difficult contradiction transforms into a graceful integration. The differences are now seen as essential complements, and a deeper sense of unity is felt. Jung described this process wherein differences move from conflict to mutual support as the central means by which the self grows. What allows this remarkable transformation to occur is, of course, the courage to love.
Mindfulness provides a simple but powerful route for getting ourselves unstuck, back into touch with our own wisdom and vitality. It is a way to take charge of the direction and quality of our own lives, including our relationships within the family, our relationship to work and to the larger world and planet, and most fundamentally, our relationship with ourself as a person.