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  • Writer's pictureMairin Smit

Holding Two Truths

Maybe this is how we know they're spiritual questions – because at their essence they hold two seemingly contradictory things, that are both undeniably true.

Contradictions are what make love grow. Paulo Coelho

Is it possible for two things to be true at once? For two seemingly contradictory things to be an honest reflection of a situation?

We’re going through a giant learning curve on this right now as we wrestle with some hard truths about the systemic racism and injustice built into the systems we work and live in.

And the overwhelming answer is: Yes.

Can we…

Be a society built on equality, and also actively keep people out of that? Yes.

Feel oppressed, and be an oppressor? Yes.

Have made advances in civil rights, and made no advances at all? Yes.

And Jen Loughran talks about this – this holding two truths – in our podcast episode this week. Because for her when it comes to holding two truths, the answer is also: Yes.

Can she…

Have different beliefs than someone, and still hold the same values? Yes.

Feel deeply connected to her faith tradition, and disconnected from its beliefs? Yes.

Be wracked with anxiety, and doing really well? Yes.

This dual reality. This holding two truths. When you look closely, you see it everywhere.

It’s the reality of how we live our lives. Because life’s big, deep questions transcend any sort of logic we impose on them.

They’re not questions of our heads. They’re spiritual questions. And spirituality doesn’t conform to logic.

Think about it. All our big spiritual questions hold this dual nature.

Can we be...

Unique, and also all the same?

Deep in grief, and feel deep joy?

Incredibly lost, and in the right place?

Inherently flawed, and good enough as we are?

Maybe this is how we know they're spiritual questions – because at their essence they hold two seemingly contradictory things, that are both undeniably true.

And if that’s the case, maybe it’s not about resolving the contradictions. Making only one of the things true.

Instead they're asking us to look more closely at the contradictions. And see what they're trying to show us.

Because if we accept both things as true, how do we show up in the world? How does it make us see others? What does it tell us about approaching challenge?

When you see it this way, these contradictions become an invitation for growth. They call us to do more, be more and change more than we think’s possible.

They call us to live more honestly – about who we are and how the world works.

So pay attention to the contradictions – in your life and the world. The space where two truths appear at once.

There’s a lesson there. It’s calling you to something more expansive. To learn from it. And act from there.

Because maybe living the contradictions is what living spiritually is all about.


What contradictions are you holding right now? What are they calling you to?

Share them with us – they might end up on this blog or our social media!

Here’s how – write 500 words or less in a doc (Word or Pages) or make a 1 min voice recording on your phone of your thoughts on this post. Then email it to us at:

We’d love to hear your personal perspective on how you’re working through these big questions. Don’t forget to tell us your name and where you’re from!

(If you want to stay anonymous, that’s ok too. Just let us know.)

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