How many of us haven’t played with the idea of perfection in our lives ? Many of us go through life with very high standards for ourselves, standards which, if we examined under the magnifying glass, would be impossible to fulfill. And yet we do it. We seek to be perfect in some imaginary way, and we cut ourselves short from happiness simply by doing that.
Being at a conference last week in Miami, I had plenty of opportunities to practice. My mind went through several different states, ranging from relaxed to turbulence. It made me realize that my general knee-jerk reaction when I am feeling tired or judgmental or moody is to judge myself further, for not being a ‘perfect’ yogi and feeling peaceful all the time.
Interestingly, during my week long stay, I also got to see the ocean in different states – from calm and relaxing to windy to just plain turbulent. On my last day, I went to the beach in the morning. The ocean was so turbulent, the waves huge and crashing with speed and strong gusts of wind like they would blow me away from my feet. It felt like the she was raging. As I watched the water, it struck me how much like my mind it was.
The sense you get when you are seeing the ocean is that somehow everything is okay. And turbulence is okay. It too passes. And my mind’s states similarly do. If I don’t take it personally, I could save myself further suffering and simply see my heart and mind for what it was. vulnerable, lonely and defensive. I wasn’t perfect and that could be okay.
I realized that this imaginary perfection whether in state of mind or in life, in work, has nothing to do with happiness. True, sometimes, doing something perfectly gives us a sense of satisfaction. Yet, it is not really essential to happiness.
Happiness has to do with the heart. and acceptance of imperfections. How willing are we to accept ourselves just as we are in this moment, unconditionally ? And how willing are we in accepting others for who they are, unconditionally ? And we start to find, the more we accept ourselves, the less we judge others. And the more we open to the capacity of our heart to feel. To experience the spectrum of emotions we are meant to experience, simply by being alive as a human being. And the only thing we can offer ourselves in this journey is kindness. Such kindness for the heart that is so fragile and in fact, defenseless.
May we trust our hearts and may we be kind,
With loving kindness, S.