Freedom: “… is a state of wholeness—you are both broken and unbroken … at the same time. This art calls us to live on the razor’s edge of paradox …” ~ Amoda Maa

living in paradox amoda maa

Ah! … awakened living … becoming to fully being …

Our human life is messy and full of duality experiences – joy and sorrow, clean and dirty, broken and whole, an endless list – and yet the perennial wisdom says it is all arising from oneness and our journey is about  realizing  that nonduality is the essential nature … and the ultimate challenge is to “dance in the waves of duality while merging with the ocean of non-duality” as Amoda Maa reminds us.

Obviously her reminder is not easy to embody … so today’s post – part 3 in this ongoing series – will take us on a deep dive that demystifies this reminder …

Through Amoda’s exploration of The Art of Being Fully Awake and Fully Human, which is one of the chapters (#6) in her recent book, Falling Open In A World Falling Apart: The Essential Teaching of Amoda Maa …

openness falling open amoda… in Part 1 (Openness: A word for this very moment) Amoda sets the stage for the series by addressing  a natural – and burning – question: how relevant is all of this in the seemingly endless mayhem of life? especially as we face the “COVID crisis.”

… and in Part 2, she shares her take on the Essence of Openness …

This part 3 is one of the sub-chapters, titled Living In Paradox … where the opening – and framing – remark says it all: “Be wild, be wide, be open. Feel everything, deny nothing. Reveal your true self to yourself. Be daring enough to be all of you. Both human and divine. Both Zorba the Greek and Buddha the Enlightened.”

All italicized text is from Falling Open in a World Falling Apart  and is published here with Amoda’s gracious and generous permission.

But before this deep dive …

India is undergoing a humanitarian crisis brought upon by the ravaging resurgence of COVID-19 … we are providing THREE vetted sources that can be used to help provide relief to India … we have donated personally and also as Stillness Speaks to PATH, CARE, and some of the GoFundMe campaigns below …

Despite the financial challenges that are amongst us all, if your situation allows you to donate then please visit one of the following sources … and contribute whatever is possible …

Deliver oxygen where it’s needed the most through PATH – a global team of innovators working to accelerate health equity so all people and communities can thrive …

Provide essential hospital services, more health workers, additional beds, oxygen supply, and much more through CARE (and their CARE India chapter) – for 75 years, CARE has led the way to a better life for the world’s most vulnerable people ….

Donate to India COVID-19 fundraisers on GoFundMe – all fundraisers have been verified by GoFundMe’s Trust & Safety team and will be updated as new fundraisers are created and verified. All GoFundMe fundraisers are backed by the GoFundMe Guarantee which ensures that all funds on this page will go to those affected by India’s COVID-19 surge …

Helping those in extreme need is the “order of the day” …


Now back to … Amoda Maa

Freedom: Embracing Paradox …

Being fully awake and fully human is the art of falling into grace while embracing the grit of the human experience. It is how we know the unbroken amidst the broken—how we dance in the waves of duality while merging with the ocean of non-duality.

Being fully awake and fully human is not a divided state. It is not a movement from one state of consciousness to another— falling into the grace of a non-dual perspective when things are going your way and you’re feeling good . . . and then getting lost in the duality of internal conflict when things don’t go so well and you’re feeling bad. It is a state of wholeness—you are both broken and unbroken, both fullness and emptiness, both form and formless at the same time. This art calls us to live on the razor’s edge of paradox.

freedom empty full amoda maa

As long as you clutch at the waves that make you feel high and resist the waves that make you feel low, as long as you run away from the waves that scare you and chase the waves that soothe you, you have problems in life. Problems in life are not what happens, but the conclusions you come to about what happens. The problem isn’t whether the waves are big or small, whether the waves are gentle or stormy—the problem is you.The problem is that you hand over your authority to the waves of thoughts and feelings that rise and fall in you.You believe your thoughts and feelings to be ultimate reality, you believe them to be the final say in the matter.

The fully awake human being welcomes all waves, without becoming any of them. When something good or pleasurable or uplifting happens, let the experience penetrate you all the way. Let it touch you, let it pour into you, let it soak every cell of your being. But don’t come to a conclusion about it, or about yourself. When something bad or irritating or painful happens, let the experience touch you, pour into you, pierce your heart. But don’t come to a conclusion about it or about yourself.

The knee-jerk reaction—whether we are faced with calamity or with ecstasy—is to identify with the wave. But if you truly want to awaken out of the dream of separation, you must take up the deeper invitation of this wave. The wave invites you to reign in this knee-jerk reactivity, to hold it like you would a wild horse—not tightly with force or aggression, but gently.This gentleness is a gentleness of the heart—the willingness to stay in that tender open space of nonresistance. And there is also a strength in this—the courage of mind to bow down to nonresistance.

awaken dream separation shukman

Become a Lover of What Is

As you tame the desire to identify with any wave that comes at you, you will come to know grace through the human experience. Grace is not a special state that elevates you above the human experience—it is simply the absence of resistance to what is here. Grace is what reveals itself when you’ve let the world obliterate you—not so you are a victim of it, but so you are a lover of it. When you open wide in nonresistance, you become a lover of what is.

Being a lover of what is has nothing to do with liking or disliking. You are neither lucky nor unlucky because of what’s happening. Life is neither good nor bad, neither rewarding nor punitive, because of what’s happening. The nature of life is duality—and there’s nothing you can do about that. There is birth and death, there is up and down, there is light and dark, there is pain and pleasure, and so on. The waves of life have been coming since the beginning of time and will continue until the end of time—and there’s nothing you can do about that. The deepest acceptance of that duality, is freedom.

The more you accept, the more you allow, the more you bow down to life as it appears now—and now and now—as your experience, the more you will fall into a state of such okay-ness, such tenderness, such beauty, such richness and such depth, that all attempts to awaken so as to escape reality will be seen as childish and futile. The only freedom is here and now. No escape, just this.

river autumn freedom just this amoda maa

“So freedom is the willingness to live in the paradox?”

The closer we come to truth—and the closer we come to living that truth—everything becomes paradoxical. It is this and that. It is human and divine. It is messy and perfect. It is time-bound and timeless. It is relative and absolute. It is form and formless. Everything becomes paradoxical. In true awakening, we live this paradox—because truth is not an end point. Truth is not an “answer.” Truth is not a belief system. Truth is an open- ended-ness within us—and this is where true freedom begins.

The freedom truth brings is not a freedom that negates our human experience, with all its challenges, with all its ups and downs, with all its losses and heartbreaks. It is a freedom that allows us to live at peace with all of it, even when it’s not peaceful. It is a freedom that wipes away all the cover-ups—everything we tell ourselves in order to protect ourselves, to pretend that we’re safe, to imagine a perfect destination. It is a freedom that wipes away the layers of defended-ness, all the strategies that we create—mental strategies, emotional strategies, energetic strategies—to get what we think we want from life to feel comfortable, to feel special, to feel loved. But these cover-ups end up being our prison. And there is no fulfillment in this self-created prison.

Fulfillment comes only when there are no cover-ups. It is the fulfillment of internal freedom and has nothing to do with the external. You could be in a jail cell, and still this freedom is available.

 ~ Amoda Maa

We will conclude this series in the next part (#4) – an excerpt from another section … so stay tuned …

All italicized text above (including quotes/text in the blockquoted segments) is from Falling Open In A World Falling Apart: The Essential Teaching of Amoda Maa … and is published here with Amoda’a generous and gracious permission.

And, here is Amoda’s website plus her current events.

May the insights offered here help you embrace paradox … and …

And may you remain safe and healthy as you navigate this global crisis …

Images (edited & Logo added): 1 & Featured) Surrealistic picture of an apple reflecting in the mirror by tommasolizzul, 2) Cover page for Amoda’s book provided by her for our use, 3) Data tunnel by 1xpert, 4) Stone Head, Fantasy by Enrique Meseguer, 5) Big boulders with fallen leaves. Autumn mountain river banks. Gravel and fresh green mossy boulders on river banks covered with colorful leaves from beeches, maples and birches by rdonar. All are purchased from depositphotos and are for use only on our website/social channels (these images are not permitted to be shared separate from this post). 2 is provided by Amoda with permission to be used on our website and other digital assets.


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