Unaware of Unresolvable Dilemma?
Discover the Biggest Ongoing Drain
on Your Time, Energy and Money
By Ragini Elizabeth Michaels
What if you heard that to “let go”, you had to hold on? What if you were told that to relax, you had to be tense? What if you found out that to be aware and present, you first had to be unaware and absent? Your first thought might be ‘how ridiculous!’ But on second thought, your own experience might verify its truthfulness as wisdom.
Letting go, relaxing, being present and aware come to us through the
counter-balancing experiences of holding on, being tense, absent, and unaware.
Yet we all strive for the unreachable goal of a positive and pleasurable life
without negativity and pain. The idea that there is sustainable success and
prosperity without any ebb and flow has blossomed into a cultural belief. While
we intuitively know this cannot be, we strive for it and forget our world is
afloat in opposites, or “polar pairs”. We end up working beyond our limits,
pushing too hard against time and space, and getting stuck in the fast lane,
even when we don’t want to be there.
I’m so stressed I can’t think!
My work with hundreds of corporate executives, small business owners, and self-employed individuals revealed a consistent unconscious belief that success and prosperity requires sustained performance and creativity. This idea alone generates enormous daily stress. It also became obvious that everyone is struggling with one or more of four fundamental inner conflicts: 1) gain vs. loss, 2) praise vs. blame, 3) fame vs. disgrace, and 4) pleasure vs. pain.
The existence of these experiences as pairs is problematic for us because no one wants loss, blame, disgrace or pain. We spend untold hours plotting how to avoid this darker side, eradicate it, bargain with it, or deny its existence. Even if we are conscious enough to know better, our unconscious minds continue on. How do we test whether our unconscious mind is in control? As you read these words, if you feel your body contracting at the thought of experiencing loss, blame, disgrace and pain, or you feel yourself reaching for the experience of gain, praise, fame and pleasure, your unconscious mind is still hard at work.
Through thirty years of guiding people, it is clear that managing inner conflicts through the lens of paradox is powerful and life-changing. Getting the knack for what I call Paradox Management shifts confusion into clarity, and turns stress into an issuable energy that profits your body, heart, soul and bank account.
By moving with the ebb and flow between opposites — life’s hidden harmony — you
will approach peace of mind on the inside, guidance for living your life more
effectively on the outside, and the experience of a more relaxed success and
Fundmental Conflicts are Really Unresolvable Dilemmas
I call these fundamental inner conflicts Unresolvable Dilemmas, a special class of dilemma that cannot be resolved and made to disappear permanently. A fixable dilemma might be deciding between Thai or Italian for lunch. You choose one and the problem dissolves. An Unresolvable Dilemma, however, cannot be fixed by simply choosing one option. For example, you need to work on Saturday, but your spouse needs you to go to his office picnic. Whose need do you fill?
The dilemma of having to choose either yourself or another will keep returning
again and again because “self” and “other” are two sides of the same coin. This
kind of confusing tension arises in all Unresolvable Dilemmas: trust vs. doubt,
professional life vs. personal life, and freedom vs. accountability, to name a
few. Can you imagine any one of these experiences without its polar opposite?
They define each other and are thus inseparable. This is the defining
characteristic of an Unresolvable Dilemma.
A Fresh Approach to Sustainability
Redefining sustainability from a paradoxical perspective opens new creative possibilities. Without the ability to look at life through the lens of paradox, you will unconsciously and automatically move toward “gain” and away from “loss”, or toward “praise” and away from “blame”. If these opposites were independent of each other, this unconscious strategy might work. However, these polarities are inseparable and we are stuck with the dilemma of how to live with both sides of this coin called success.
Trying to live with only one side is like saying ‘yes’ to the in-breath and ‘no’
to the out-breath. In and out-breaths are both separate and connected. This is
the inevitable ebb and flow we have been mistakenly trying to eliminate, rather
than understand and manage, so we can succeed and prosper.
We Need Tension to Sustain Success and Prosperity
Not knowing how to handle Unresolvable Dilemmas creates stress, doubt, confusion, and the erosion of confidence and self-esteem. Unfortunately, we are constantly trying to decrease our stress without understanding this root cause.
The Stress Dilemma will arise when striving for excellence in performance.
Excellence arises from creativity. And creativity arises from the tension and
flow between ‘chaos vs. order’. Do you try to keep order by pushing yourself and
doing what may be unhealthy? Or, do you step back, relax and let chaos have its
way? Either choice can feel like a lose-lose. But it can be a win-win by
learning how to move with the ebb and flow. Only by embracing both poles can you
paradoxically sustain excellence, freshness, motivation, and that desired sense
of aliveness and satisfaction.
Guidance from the Psychology of the Mystics
What I am sharing with you is a model for inner peace based on the Psychology of the Mystics. Awareness of this wisdom however is not enough. Don’t stop until these ideas are living in your muscles and have set up housekeeping in a new neuro-physiological coding in your brain. Paradox Management does just that. It provides the option of real behavioral change and paves the way for dynamic creativity and a more relaxed approach to success and prosperity. Please, don’t believe me. See for yourself.
Ragini Elizabeth Michaels, Consciousness Teacher, Behavioral Change Specialist and author, runs the Facticity® Wisdom School in Seattle, Washington and offers trainings and workshops in Paradox Management. E-mail: Ragini@facticity.com or visit: www.facticity.com
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