You Can't Let Go While You Are Holding On


Or on problem and paradox.  Just the word problem is a problem for me.  I don’t like problems. Paradox, however, proves to be interesting.  What exactly is a paradox? Miriam- Webster: a statement that is seemingly contradictory or opposed to common sense and yet is perhaps true.  

Not a very nice definition, really, sort of avoiding any real commitment to the nature of paradox, it would seem.  At the heart of the medicine I use is a paradox; yin and yang, light and dark, movement and stillness, two forces opposed to one another and yet constantly, perpetually in mutual embrace.  How can this be? How can we be?

As I mentioned last week, a question like this puts us right smack in the middle of a relationship, one that is a paradox.  We are both the light and the dark, the moving and the still, the growth and the decay. If we consider that basic relationship a problem rather than a paradox, consternation and trouble ensue.  A problem is something we want to solve, something we want to go away. A paradox is, on the other hand, is by its nature, something that will NOT go away. It will always be true. What kind of relief this is! We can let go, stop trying to find a solution to something that will not go away.  

Yet, you can’t let go while you are holding on.  I know this seems obvious, but I think we often do not let ourselves feel this holding on.  We want to say we are letting go, we want to feel the release, and yet, we still believe that there are things we can, or even should hold on to.  Fact is, you can’t let go while you are holding on. Such is the paradox. Letting go is about keeping the relationship even while things are changing.  As they are constantly doing. Change, the only constant, presents us with yet one more paradox. How can we be changing and yet still find ourselves the same?  We are both. We are the same. The same essence, the same alive, beautiful, tender, curious, brave, broken heart. And we are new, different, changed in each moment.  

Every time I meet with someone, I am so excited to see what is new, what is changed.  And so curious to see what to them feels the same, what from their perspective has not moved. Are we alive to movement in ourselves? Or are we trying to keep things the same?  

From my Daoist teacher, Jeffrey Yuen:  “The state of awareness that induces disease is a state of awareness that needs to be altered to induce a state of healing.  The same state of consciousness that produces disease cannot also produce healing…True health, like Qi, is not a place, it’s a relationship, it is always moving, and that’s crucial.”

In this most potent place of paradox, where we cannot stop the life, the alive, ever-present movement, we actually have choice.  Our choice can be letting go, letting ourselves feel and flow with the very life that is happening inside and around us. And in this life, in this moment, always lies our most powerful, our most precious, our most potent choice.  It is ours to make.

What are some choices you have made that turned on a paradox?