The word “paradox” is just a label that our mind uses to tag that which apparently cannot logically exist, yet it somehow actually does. It is a strategy used by our constructed identity in order to be able to deal with the apparently impossible. 

When the line between two seemingly naturally opposing principles dissolves and these two forces begin not only to integrate with each other, but also to feed and co-exist with one another, they completely harmonize into a paradoxical whole.

For example, when two clearly opposing thoughts are allowed to exist simultaneously, and are also allowed to integrate into one another, they both end up giving birth to ONE profoundly peaceful, and all-receiving inner experience. In other words, as we can see in the practice of Inquiry-Based Coaching, when we "reframe" any thought we integrate two apparently contradictory principles into one harmonious living whole.

This integration further transforms into a form of energy that nurtures, flows and also consumes itself at the same time. It is an integration of energy that cannot be named, where there is no separation, no strategy, no expectation, and no strife. There is no winner, no loser, no better, and no worse. This is what we call a living paradox, and this paradox would be far from being unreal. Rather, as this integration happens, is becomes a palpable, living, harmonious, compassionate, and self-sustaining union of opposites.

As a representation of this phenomenon, if you were to spin a Yin-Yang symbol on its centre as fast as possible what would you see? You would not see the traditional black and white petals chasing each other with a dot in the centre. Rather, as the circle speeds up you would eventually see a fully integrated flow of ONE SAME COLOUR, or ONE SAME ENERGY. You would see a sort of overall grey, and you would not see any individual black or white. You would see the perfect combination of both opposing principles achieved by the integration of the two initial opposing colours into one.

Furthermore, you may imagine that if you were to spin a yin-yang on its centre to the point where the black and the white integrate into a continuous grey, then you would just have a grey blob with no movement or action, and hence a form of passive or stagnant energy. Nevertheless, if you look closer at the spinning yin-yang (please see video attached below), an exquisite and apparently “illogical” movement still prevails as the petals are now both in grey and they synchronize themselves in a beautiful, decisive and quaintly phased flow of action and integration that sustains BOTH energies at the same time without any form of conflict, achieving full integration whilst also maintaining continuous action! Behold the paradox!

Nowadays we often misinterpret the wonderful Yin-Yang symbol gifted to us by the original Taoists almost 25 centuries ago. The Yin-Yang was intended to actually show CONSTANT MOVEMENT until it would reach a point where it would finally, and naturally, embody the state that Taoists used to call “quiescence” (or quietude) as a result of that same movement and of the full integration of its opposing forces. Today, we often depict the Yin-Yang as a static, single-frame representation of two opposing colours. Unfortunately, this representation lacks the inherent assumption of continuous movement that accompanies this principle and therefore loses this clearly important component for its profound understanding.

If we bring this principle of integration into our own internal experience through the practice of inquiry and meditation, we could see that if we were to allow all internal phenomena that we label as “negative” to integrate and become ONE with all internal phenomena that we label as “positive”, our inner sense of separation and isolation would cease, followed by a profound experience of flow, integration, acceptance, compassion and peace. The internal war would be over! This is the quintessential paradox!


Dr. Pedro Cortina is CEO & Managing Partner at the Innerland Institute He is an author, speaker, counselor, facilitator, trainer, transformation specialist and leadership consultant. He is the author of Curflexion: Living the Infinite Space of Being, a guide for moving away from our underlying human experience of separation and unfulfillment.