• natalienuttall

The ultimate paradox

Our experience of life is full of paradoxes.

As babies we are oblivious to separation. There is no line of differentiation between where we begin and end. When we enter into language and start identifying with the 'I' that appears to defines us as an entity, there is a singularity to our existence that is both exhilarating and deeply unnerving.

We spend a lifetime endeavouring to find security. To fill a perceived gap between self and other, to warrant worth and earn love.

In our intrepid adventures out into the world we acquire knowledge, amass 'stuff' and chase achievements in the hope it will make us more than we are in this moment. And when we start to feel the burn and the acquisition trail proves fruitless, we lose ourselves in work, consumerism, wine, sex, social media or substances that afford us a blurring of the edges between self and other - a momentary union with the cosmos.

We all face pain, and most of us experience suffering. The most acute forms can come in the collapse of the identity we thought we had so vigilantly pinned down.

Little me unravelled when I experienced deep depression and spiralling anxiety some years ago. The 'I' that language dealt out to me around 38 years ago had seemingly held me in its narrative trappings. The stories I had adeptly been told and retold myself were etched so emphatically I had failed to see they were written in pencil not ink.

So curiosity led me on an inner exploration. A sense of seeking pervaded, so strong and all-consuming that I devoured others' observations and teachings, oblivious to this tendency to acquire knowledge which was showing up in another mercurial guise. I saw the glaring paradox that the very act of searching was a kind of turning back on myself, or a step away from home.

Yet in the moments when I fall into gaps between language, when I embrace the space on the page around the 'I', there is a weightlessness to it all. A sense of expansiveness envelopes me. All lines of demarcation dissolve away and I see we are all the love that we seek. The nothing that is everything.

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