The Paradox of Mindfulness: Moving Toward

The Paradox of Mindfulness: Moving Toward

  • September 9, 2013

Our conditioned nature is to grasp or cling onto what we want; avoid or be averse to what we don’t want; or be in delusion–blinded by ignorance with our head in the sand. “I want this,” “I don’t want this,” or “What I don’t know doesn’t hurt me.” These states compel us to turn away from our fears.

Mindfulness teaches you to let things be—accept things as they are, without grasping onto or pushing away from. When you accept things as they are, you are better able to assess the situation, make wise choices, and take action. “There’s a sense of freedom when we accept we’re not in control. Pain is always a sign that we are holding on to something—usually ourselves” (Chodron).

Mindfulness is to welcome what’s here, regardless. At every twist and turn, you’re invited to let go. You learn to relinquish control not by trying to change the situation, or even yourself, but rather by changing your habitual compulsion to grasp, avoid, or deny. You change how you’re relating to what’s happening. You notice how you’re holding on for dear life, running away for fear of being caught, or shutting down to hide from being seen. You notice the quality of your attention; placing this front and center stage and working from here. Mindfulness paradoxically encourages you to move toward discomfort rather than away in order to break free.

Move toward discomfort
rather than away
in order to break free

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