In one of my favorite musicals, “Fiddler on the Roof”, Tevye, a poor Russian milkman, is listening to an argument between his old villager friend and Perchik, a young revolutionary student. They’re discussing the merits of keeping abreast of political and social changes happening in the world outside their little village. The villager presents his reasoning, and Tevye comments, “You’re right!” Then Perchik presents his case, and Tevye again concludes, “You’re right!” Another friend who’s been listening replies, “He’s right and he’s right? They can’t both be right.” At this point Tevye scratches his head, and in his best Yiddish accent says, “You know, you are also right.”
Therein lies the nature of paradox. This little scene is a beautiful example of how sometimes we must adopt a higher perspective in order to see the big picture, to allow seeming opposites to be true at the same time.
Tevye is being asked, throughout the course of this well-known story, to embrace a whole series of changes…….to give up many of his long-held beliefs, his “Tradition!”, in the face of the rapidly changing times. Out of deep love for his children, Tevye ultimately chooses to surrender many of his entrenched ideas and dogmas. He learns to open to new ways of looking at things. As Hodel, his middle daughter says, “The world is changing, Papa!” and we watch with great compassion as Tevye learns to change with it.
The world is always changing, and it is always our choice to view those changes as threats, or as opportunities. The former creates fear, pain and suffering; the latter brings joy, growth and fulfillment.
It is always our choice. By being open to change in our inner and outer worlds, being willing to look at ourselves and our situation from a Higher Perspective, we make room for paradox. Rather than being limited by our own programmed belief systems, we become large enough to contain it all. We can be in pain AND know it’s all okay. We can be afraid AND have absolute trust. We can disagree with AND totally accept another’s point of view.
It is said, “In God, all things are possible”.
Einstein reminds us, “A problem cannot be solved from the same consciousness level in which it was created.”
A simple, but profound Truth, applicable to personal and global issues. We must raise our level of awareness, attune ourselves to a Higher Perspective, where indeed all things are possible. Including paradox.
So, whatever your personal situation, may you embrace with Grace the change that confronts you. May you find peace in the power of paradox. And may the winds of change be always at your back.