Improving on Perfection
This weekend we meet the challenge of how to assess and improve our lot whilst knowing that everything is perfect just as it is. How do we reconcile this apparent contradiction? For if everything is perfect as it is, why should we strive to change anything, including ourselves and our own understanding of life and truth? It’s a big question and one that we’re probably not going to answer in a weekend (and certainly not in this post!), but the cosmos raises it now for our contemplation.
There’s perfection and then there’s perfection, the heavens remind us. In the grand scheme of things everything is perfect exactly as it is because, as a product of all that has gone before, it could be no other way. In temporal terms, life is as it is because the past was as it was. We made the choices we made, life unfolded as it did and we’re living the consequences of that particular constellation of decisions, actions and experiences. It’s that simple. We believe perfection to be…well… perfect…when in fact perfection is merely a state of being, authentically true to its own nature.
And then there’s worldly perfection, for which we strive… struggling with perceived defects of character, emotional problems, difficult circumstances. This is the notion of perfection born of the ego which judges good and bad, valuable and worthless, positive and negative. We identify what’s not right in our world and want to change and improve it. We may not specifically strive for perfection itself, but we want things to improve, life to be more satisfying, the world to be a ‘better’ place.
The path of awakening necessitates that we bring together these two forms of perfection into a unified whole, honouring the present moment as a perfect outgrowth of all that has gone before, whilst recognising that it also forms the soil in which the roots of the future are nurtured and grown. As such the present moment is never ‘wrong’, no matter how unsatisfactory or painful it may be. It merely is, and we are blessed with the power to make future present moments different by living this one in a conscious way.
Not only do we have this power but we also have a wealth of data available to help us decide how best to use it. Our entire life to date is here for our reflection. We can discern the consequences of choices made, actions undertaken or neglected, behaviours indulged. We can reflect upon how we have allowed emotions to dictate our choices, fears to lead the way or identification with certain principles and priorities to shape our lives thus far. We are living and breathing the consequences of who we have been right now, and in doing so we can begin to change who we will be in due course. Even whilst knowing that everything in this moment, is just perfect as it is.
Perfection…sought after by so many throughout the ages… desired, pursued, over-looked and lost. And yet still it drives us onward even whilst it is right here, all around us in every moment: one of the many paradoxes of life as spiritual and material beings, seduced by the ego and embraced by the Divine. Life is perfect but with room for improvement, as are we, you and I…
Here’s wishing everyone a peaceful weekend.