I often get questions about the contradictions in various spiritual teachings and even within a particular spiritual teaching, not to mention the contradictions in life itself! These seeming contradictions can be very confusing to the mind, as the mind has a hard time with opposite things both being true. However, life doesn’t limit itself to what the mind can understand, and so life is perfectly fine with two opposite things both having some truth.
Whenever anyone writes or speaks (even spiritual teachers), they are at best speaking half of the truth. This is due to the limitation inherent in words. Much of the time, what we say contains much less than half of the truth. So when you read words that seem contradictory from different spiritual teachers or even from the same spiritual teacher, this is because it’s often necessary to contradict yourself to fully express the truth. There are many levels, dimensions, and perspectives within consciousness, and they are all valid.
The real gift of any teaching is when it points out the part of the truth that hasn’t been seen or is being overlooked. When someone discovers the part of the truth that they hadn’t previously seen, they naturally want to hang onto it and even deny or reject the opposite truth. However, as challenging as this may be to accept, dualistic teachings are correct, teachings of pure nonduality are correct, and everything else is also correct to a greater or lesser degree. Just to be clear, some things are true, but not very true. So although very narrow, bigoted perspectives may have a tiny piece of truth, that doesn’t make them important or very helpful or worthwhile. An example of something that is true but not very true is a lottery ticket: It’s true that you can win if you buy a lottery ticket, but it’s not very true. In fact, it is a ridiculously small truth!
What really matters is whether someone’s words expand your own experience of the truth or not. Anything that adds to or expands your experience of truth opens and softens your Heart, quiets your mind, and expands your sense of yourself. So when words do this, you can savor them and ponder them to fully absorb what they are pointing to. If anyone’s words (even a spiritual teacher’s) have the opposite effect and contract your Heart, make your mind busy, and make you feel small or inadequate, then you know those words are not important for you. You don’t need to reject them or make them wrong, just let the idea be there and move onto something that is truer for you.