Dance In The Paradox

604. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

One of my favorite paradoxes lives in these two seemingly conflicting statements: 1) you can only know yourself through the eyes of another, and 2) what others perceive is none of your business; your business is to attend to what you perceive. I believe both to be true.

An infant that lacks touch and attention will die. An adult that lacks touch and attention might live but they will certainly twist, warp, and wither. They will wonder why they live; survival alone on a deserted island is untenable unless there is hope of one day seeing, touching, and knowing another human being. It is the desire to connect, the fundamental need to connect with another that gives us life and purpose. If you are seeking for greater meaning take pause and look at those miracle people that surround you. Everything else is an abstraction. On your deathbed you will review your relationships, not your portfolio.

We are, at the end of the day, a relationship, fluid and dynamic. We are the story we tell of what just happened. We are a story we tell of what we desire to happen. And the “happening” always involves relationship to someone. Think about it: who have you deemed it necessary to know that you are successful? Whose values do you carry forward?

Occasionally we are present with what is, not looking forward or backward but just here. And here, in this place beyond story, it is clear to see that there is only dynamic, flowing relationship.

Our folly is in believing that we are one thing, a fixed singular identity. A separate fixed singular identity. We are none of those things: separate, singular, or fixed. Choose one day this week and pay attention to how many roles you play. Beyond father, mother, daughter son, uncle, niece, nephew, friend, boss, commuter, there are roles you play as you dress, walk down the street; whose eye do you want to catch? What is the story you tell to strangers at dinner parties? Who are you in public? How does that change in private? What about in good days? How does it change when you are feeling down? Who do you want to be? Who are you afraid that you are? Answer six phone calls and pay attention to how you change based on who’s on the other end of the call. Our actions are driven relative to the others that we include in our story.

You are a dynamic relationship and the most mysterious relationship you will ever have is with yourself. And therein lives the paradox. No one can truly know you; no one will ever stand and see through your eyes or know fully what you really think – so their opinions about you have nothing to do with you. What they think is filtered through their lives and expectations. They can’t even really see you through their filters and role assignments. Only your opinions have to do with you because only your opinions originate in you. So, how do you choose to story yourself?

If it is true that you can only know yourself through the eyes of another it is also true that you can only know yourself through what you perceive. To know yourself you must at some point step into the mystery of yourself and on that journey there is no guide to hire. No one can tell you what to find, where to look, or what to believe. Virgil cannot escort you into that cavern. You must step into the vastness of yourself by yourself, and define the kind of relationship you want to have with you. You must see yourself from your own point of view. And recognize that even that is a story.

As I recently read, “truth is not fact.” You are not a fact. You are a truth and truths can only be found dancing in the paradoxes.

2 Responses

  1. David, I just finished a book called ‘Molecules of Emotion’ where Dr. Candance Pert gives thorough scientific ‘proof’ that what binds us together on a molecular level are our *emotions* — compassion, sorrow, joy, love — flowing freely. We each are capable of ’emotional resonance’ like when i pluck one harp string and another vibrates. Imagine!

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