“The harder it is, The simpler it gets”

We often find we reach a stage of becoming overwhelmed by the complexity surrounding our mental processes. When we begin to delve deeper into these complexities, through focused relaxation and self-examination, even more layers become added to this process.

We find that the more we pay attention to our thoughts, bodies and emotions, the more information we become aware of. Complexes we might previously been unaware of, but were present nonetheless rear their heads and we may begin to get the sensation that self-reflection is leading to LESS relaxation.

However, this isn’t truly the case. Inside of us are many layers and many levels of consciousness. In a paradoxical way, the more we’re able to discover these complex layers, the more we’re able to transcend them. This doesn’t mean that they are not present. It means that by focused practice of awareness and letting go we’re able to find the spaces in us where they do not play a part.

Psychedelic Buddha-Being Meditating (Self-Discovery)

Our inner thoughts, complexes, psychological quirks and sensory memories and database are a part of us we cannot escape. They exist and play inside of us, informing our choices and emotions, whether we are consciously aware of them or not. The ability to transcend them does not mean they cease to exist. Rather it means that we reach a point where we accept ourselves, encompassing these myriad aspects, which may rise and fall depending on what stage of our inner journey we are at. When we accept ourselves, through relaxing into these aspects, we can allow them to both be present and to release and pass, connecting us in a wider sense to the Universe around us and our consciousness as whole.

When this happens, certain states can be reached outside of our normal awareness, whilst also encompassing ourselves wholly and wholeheartedly.

This is indeed a paradox, and one which cannot be resolved.

It’s not easy to hold these two conflicting ways of being inside of our minds. One the one hand the more we explore deep relaxation the more we are aware of the deep levels of complexity inside of us. But on the other hand, the more we explore and become aware of these aspects, the more we transcend them, even though we know they are still present.

This is tricky to get to grips with and can be felt the most keenly after practicing for some time. We must first become aware of the existence of this paradox and make our peace with it.

Sometimes this concept is very abstract, so it’s worth taking some time to examine how others have approached it.

Heraclitus of Ephesus’ Self-Discovery

Heraclitus was a pre-Socratic Greek Philosopher. He believed that the Universe is a state of ever-present change, and many of his quotes can help us to reflect on the paradoxes of complexity and simplicity.

One incredible quote by Heraclitus states:

“Opposition brings concord. Out of discord comes the fairest harmony”
  (On the Universe – Fragment 98)

What should we make of this quote? On the surface, it’s confusing, stating that opposing aspects lead to harmony.

The Weeping Philosopher Heraclitus

But this is precisely what we are exploring in the issue of complexity. Harmony and deep relaxation into higher consciousness doesn’t mean simply letting go of all discord, or difficulties.

Rather the deeper we practice self-awareness the more we find that every layer acts as a bridge towards the places inside us all which are eternal and whole. These places are not easily describable, because they exist outside of words and thoughts. That doesn’t mean they are separate to them though. Because this state is a place of encompassment, as well as emptiness. It, too, is a paradox.

Heraclitus understood that paradoxes do not need to be solved, or considered a problem. In our logical world, it might feel as though this runs counter to what we are taught. However, becoming comfortable with paradoxes can help us to find more meaning and truth, as well as added to dimensions to our daily lives.

Another quote by Heraclitus states

“Much learning does not teach understanding.”
   (On the Universe – Fragment 16)

This quote can be interpreted not as an indictment against education, but rather a musing on how the more we think and overthink the more we can get confused. We fill our minds with searches for the truth, for the essence of our being, and in doing so get in our own way. However, by not searching, learning, and growing we also move further away from self-knowledge.

Another paradox!

One of the aims of encouraging true and deep relaxation is to give ourselves the space and freedom to explore these complex subjects. Learning to become comfortable with confusion and with things which don’t always make sense when looked at from a logical and methodical point of view is a huge part of that.

It requires us to step outside of our daily conditioning and perceptions, in ways which feel often feel strange. We seek to understand all the time. We value science with the same ferocity that others have valued religions throughout history. Because of this, logical thought, empirical evidence and objective reasoning are all seen as the pinnacle of human thought in the Western world. They certainly have value, and there is no need to denigrate these beliefs and methods of knowing. Nor is there any need to cast them aside.

However, in learning to think differently, to explore the contradictions, and the strangeness of paradox we can come to a place of much greater freedom in our souls.