Contradictions have always existed in the soul of man. But it is only when we prefer analysis to silence that they become a constant and insoluble problem. We are not meant to resolve all contradictions but to live with them and rise above them and see them in the light of exterior and objective values which make them trivial by comparison. 91

I don`t like contradictions.

I prefer the world to be a tidy place. I would like all my theological ducks to line up in nice straight rows in even numbers. I want to be able to recognize who the good guys are and chase away all the bad guys.

The messy reality of life is too complicated, confusing and complex for my liking.

I struggle to understand, to figure things out, to make sense of the world in which I live. I want to know the reasons behind peoples’ actions, to know their motives and understand the reasoning behind their behaviour.

When our home was broken into recently, my first response was to want to understand how a person could invade another person’s space with such careless disregard for the sanctity of their home. I have yet to come up with a good answer.

My struggle “to resolve all contradictions” is futile. My determination to make sense of the world only lands me in one “constant and insoluble problem,” after another.

Merton suggests I need to learn “to live with” the “insoluble problem,” to “rise above” the nagging confusion and doubt that the unresolvable conundrum inevitably poses. I can do this only by entering into “silence.”

Paradox and contradiction lose their power when I settle into the deep silence of surrender. In the constant practice of letting go in silent prayer, a deeper consciousness opens within me. The tensions no longer need to be resolved. I am able to sit with confusion and embrace apparently contradictory polarities. There is a deeper reality than the mess of unanswerable questions and confusing contradictions.

What do I hope to accomplish by seeking to understand the contradictions that are an inevitable part of the human condition?

What shift takes place within me when I sit in silence and let go of my need to understand?