The Paradox of Transformation
Transformation comes from acceptance.
There are other paradoxes no doubt, but I see this as the main paradox of the spiritual path.
The spiritual path is one of transformation, or else, why would we set out on the journey. But it is not in striving for change that we experience transformation, but only through acceptance. The practice of loving presence shifts our rigid patterns. Acceptance opens the heart to a new way of being in the world. Similarly, it is relaxed awareness that motivates our efforts and brings energy to our practice.
We often bring the same achievement attitude we learn in school and in this culture in general to our spiritual practice so at a certain point you might experience the thought “I’m not doing this right” in relation to your spiritual or meditation practice, not understanding there is no right or wrong. There is just a constant rebalancing.
Like a seesaw.
Or the Buddha describes it as tuning a lute or a stringed instrument. Not too tight, not too loose and as you play, you will always have to re-tune it (and may even need to replace a string). For myself and I imagine for many of us today, our strings are mostly too tight. Not always, but a lot of time, it’s acceptance and relaxation that we need to emphasize.