The fundamental nature of reality, also known as the Tao, is characterized by paradox. The most adaptive systems in our world are also characterized by paradox. When you find yourself coming up against a paradox, realize what is happening and instead of making it wrong, or pushing it away, pay very close attention to it. The cognitive mind cannot understand paradox because it cannot understand the fundamental nature of reality.
There are many paradoxical experiences that can awaken you, including attempting to be aware of awareness itself.
As you surrender yourself into the paradox, like you would any good zen koan, soon enough you will experience satori (enlightenment or awakening), and you will become a sotāpanna, or “stream-enterer.” You will have finally set foot on the path.
Once you are awakened, paradox will no longer be scary or confusing, but beautiful and rich, and like an old friend.
Awakening is the easiest thing in the world. It’s also the most difficult thing in the world. As soon as you completely stop trying, stop resisting, awakening happens, but to stop resisting is very difficult. And if you try to stop resisting you can’t, but if you don’t try then you won’t. It’s also (usually) necessary to practice very intensely, yet awakening happens when you stop practicing, or you stop practicing when you awaken.
Awakening is also the end of the path and the beginning of the path. You don’t really start until you awaken, which is why Buddha calls it entering the stream (which you then have to cross), but what is on the other side of the stream is also awakening. Crossing the stream is an arduous and effortful process of effortlessly returning to where you started, which is where you already are.
I know all of this even though I have not yet crossed the stream, because I have entered the stream.