The Paradigm Shift

Many years ago I woke up with this word in my head, “paradigm.” I didn’t even know how to pronounce it. Synchronistically, I went to the library that day and saw a book called “Where Will You Be Standing When The Paradigm Shifts?”

I just published a book called A Guru in the Guest Room. Swami Z is a sleeping teacher, which makes no sense at all. Gurus are here to awaken us, not put us to sleep. But what if we think in opposites, what if we go even further and transcend the opposites. In The Work of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky, this is called finding “Real I.”

Since I am not intelligent enough to write an essay about the paradigm shift in nonduality, I woke up Swami Z and asked him to speak for a few paragraphs about it.

Vicki comes into the kitchen and Swami is standing on a step ladder changing a light bulb. “Hey, Swami,” I said and he almost fell off the ladder. “I almost fell off the ladder,” he said, immediately making this paragraph in the essay redundant.

“Sorry,” I said, not very apologetically. “I was thinking about the word ‘paradigm’. I don’t know what it means. Do you?”

“Is it anything like pair of nickel?” he said. I should have seen that one coming.

“Or pair of penny?” he snorted. “Because I don’t give two cents about fancy-schmancy words.”

Mr. Swami Z the Electrician replaced the light bulb and I pushed him into his chair. “Sit,” I said, “have some tea. Let’s kick something around.”

“Besides me?” he said, “because you have a way of doing that.”

“No, I would like to hear what you think about everyone going around claiming to be enlightened. They can’t ALL be awake, now can they?”

Swami stirred his tea before replying. “Vicki, you are so naive it makes me giggle. Who says you have to believe these people?”

“I don’t, and that’s precisely the point. We need a new paradigm. There needs to be a change.”

“Musical chairs is change,” he said, but someone always loses the game. People want to be winners, even when it comes to the nonduality game. I say, “Let them crow about their enlightenment. That is a pretty big clue in and of itself. Those who know don’t talk.”

At that precise moment the paradigm shifted for me, which made me want a cigarette and I don’t even smoke.

Vicki Woodyard

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