- Mental Health»
PERFECTION IS ALL AROUND USClick thumbnail to view full-size
PERFECTION RESTS IN EXISTENCE
Do you like that subtitle? Or are you wondering what vrbmft is smoking these days? Are you ready to go back to watching South Park? Do you feel sort of required to read because after all, he usually writes something interesting and funny and meaningful? Man, but now, he's dipping down into metaphysics or something! Some of you, I hope, might be laughing your asses off. I hope it will both grab you, make you wonder A LOT, and most importantly, keep reading!
Growing up, I think I strove for perfection for a very long time. I was vulnerable to being devastated anytime I did not achieve what I considered perfection or what others were telling me was the "mark."
An old mentor, who contributed more than she ever knew to my development as a therapist and as a professional in the field, told me once that a PhD was the ticket. At face value, her advice was right on, and I’m sure she had no intentions of minimizing my achievements. But for many years, I wondered if I had settled, and if having "only" a master’s degree was not only second best, but second rate. Thank God, I have arrived to a different place in my life, and for the most part, I can look at myself through a very different mindset, something beyond the letters after my name.
But it’s been a journey. In 1986, I looked at how imperfect my body was and worked my way up to running six miles almost every morning. Wow! What an accomplishment. In my own mind, my body was nearing perfection. I was nearing perfection in being able to run from my house out four miles to Hiway 38 and then head up the road to Big Bear Lake, up to Mountain Home Village. I was able to run up to thirteen miles while never stopping to rest. This physical accomplishment led me to run after perfection in other areas of my life as well.
I think my striving for perfection began to shift approximately eight years into my running when I immersed myself in the writings of Jon Kabat-Zinn and Julia Cameron, and I began writing morning pages. I also "met" Wallace Black Elk who introduced me to Native American Spirituality. I remember reading how Native Americans intentionally "screw up" the color patterns in bead work as a testimony to the reality that there is no such thing as perfection. The first time I read that, I felt something release in my gut, and I realized I was really okay just the way I was with all my successes and all my failures, skinny or fat.
This "ah-ah" experience turned me on to talking and writing about baseball’s batting average, which is a very very mind rattling commentary on perfection.
In baseball, you are REQUIRED to fail seventy percent of the time that you are up at bat. How does that work? Well, you are required to step up to the plate one hundred percent of the time knowing full well that you will fail seventy percent of the time. So the given odds are that even the best of players will, at their best, only get a hit thirty percent of the time. In baseball terms, hitting thirty percent of the time is batting three hundred. .300 There’s a decimal in front of the three! Three hundred is like the "perfect" batting average, but ironically, it is anything but perfect. Only one player in the history of modern baseball hit .400 for an entire season. Talk about perfection! And now Ted Williams is hanging upside down somewhere in Phoenix Arizona with his head cut off, and both head and torso being perfectly preserved cryonically. What a perfect ending to your life, uh?
As I continued to shift, when people or even myself, for that matter, would bemoan mistakes, I would try my best to see the mistakes and to encourage them to see the mistakes and the errors as part of the package, part of the deal. As in baseball, you can’t get a hit unless you are willing to strike out, ground out, fly out, be thrown out, be tagged out, in other words FAIL or make a mistake by swinging too high or too low. The word perfection gradually disappeared from my vocabulary.
I even began suggesting that perhaps when we die, we will find out that even God isn’t perfect, implying that perhaps perfection is a senseless and pointless template or mold that has no match anywhere in the universe including with God. Perhaps perfection is a western Greco concept that by definition defines and limits reality rather than expanding it into infinity. Perfection is like a cookie cutter rather than a rolling pin. The rolling pin just keeps spreading out the dough farther and farther.
My wisdom was further fortified when I was reading an article about the scripture verse where Jesus exhorts us to be as perfect as our heavenly Father. The article said that the original Greek word, translated into English as perfect doesn’t mean perfect at all, but rather grown-up . I was so excited. That proves it. I have been right all along. And now I have scriptural evidence to back me up. Perfect is not a meaningful word, not even applied to God.
And better yet, when I was reading Rabbi Kushner, he points out that the Book of Genesis actually consists of at least three different Jewish traditions, one of which believed that the world was created by one of the lesser gods and that’s why it is so imperfect! Bingo. Again, perfection is our word, our concept, and probably has no foundation in reality, not even in God’s creation.
Man I was walking on cloud nine. I knew I was really smart.
Having given up the meaningless quest for perfection, I eventually arrived at a place I call self acceptance and actually wrote a blog about it the other night.
In the course of writing that blog, I went searching for a song I had heard years ago, entitled, "I Love Myself The Way I Am." In the song are the words, "I’ll always be the perfect me, there’s nothing to rearrange." Whoa, there’s that word that I had worked so hard to filter out of my thinking and vocabulary. M-m-m. I will always be the perfect me. What does that mean? Then I began hearing one of my favorite people also use the word, perfect.
Now you gotta understand that I listen to Wayne Dyer almost every day on the audio version of either Power of Intention or Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life . I listen to Wayne Dyer so much that I swear he’d recognize me if he saw me walking down the street. "Hey, aren’t you the guy who listens to my CD’s every morning on your walk?"
And I’ve been listening to him almost every day for five years, so I have heard him use that word, perfect , a lot, but never paid attention to it. In fact, sometimes I was annoyed when he used it, wondering why, this wise man, would continue to use a word that had no meaning in the universe. Yes, I thought I was wiser than Wayne Dyer.
Then a couple of months ago, when I was listening to Wayne talk about his own writing process, I began to settle down about a book I recently wrote and published. Over the past year, when I have read the book, myself, I have come across a few typos and I’m always filled with instant embarrassment. On occasion, I am tempted to take the book off the market long enough to correct the typos.
But after listening to a segment of Wayne Dyer, the words popped into my head. "The book is perfect. Why would you want to take a perfect book off the market for however long it will take to correct a few typos that probably no one other than you sees? And what happens if someone wants to buy this perfect book and it’s not available because you’re correcting a few typos? The book’s Creator is going to be pissed!"
But it was almost as if I kept my discovery a secret even to myself. I refused to let the word perfect back into my vocabulary. And I have enjoyed writing comments on BennyTheWriter blogs about whether or not perfection exists, is possible, or is even worthwhile striving for. Now there is some good stuff in Benny’s blogs. Make you sure you read them.
And then this past week, I heard again Wayne Dyer referring to that scripture passage, "be as perfect as your heavenly father." He was just fine with the word perfect . He had no beef with the word, and, of course, I have heard this segment of Dyer’s book a zillion times in the past five years, but I guess I always just skip over it and don’t pay much attention. Or I’d tell myself, because I am so very wise, even wiser than Wayne Dyer, "one day Wayne Dyer will also wake up just like I did and stop using or even referring to this word and notion of perfect."
But the other day, when I heard him talking about this passage, it finally sunk in. PERFECT. "I will always be the perfect me. There’s nothing to rearrange....The book is perfect, typos and all. There is nothing to rearrange....We want to be as perfect as our heavenly father, our Source, and the fact is we are as perfect as our heavenly father, because perfection is NOT something we achieve or strive for, it’s not about our behavior or our accomplishments. We are perfect because of where we come from. Perfection exists all around us. We only have to allow ourselves to let perfection in and experience it.
BE as perfect as your heavenly father. Most of the time, we focus our lives on doing. But this passage encourages us TO BE, to live in the perfection that is already here. Again, it is not about behavior change, repenting for my sins. It’s about waking up, growing up and letting myself BE, letting myself exist in the deepest experience of existing. And in that place, we are all as perfect as our heavenly father, whether or not you believe in such a person. And yes, substitute mother, woman, whatever. Godliness supersedes gender!
So guess what? Perfect is back in my dictionary. Of course, it has a new profound meaning for me. And it "creates" no stress because perfection is already here. It’s definitely NOT something I have to achieve or strive for. Everything is created perfect from the get go. You just have to grasp that. Perhaps seeing the perfection that is all around us is the ultimate leap of faith. Yes, you got it. It’s not something to achieve, but to believe in. Check out the words to the song again.
I LOVE MYSELF THE WAY I AM
I love myself the way I am,
there's nothing I need to change.
I'll always be the perfect me,
there's nothing to rearrange.
I'm beautiful and capable of being
the best me I can.
And I love myself just the way I am
I love you just the way you are,
there's nothing you need to do.
When I feel the love inside myself,
it's easy to love you.
Behind your fears, your rage and tears
I see your shining star.
And, I love you just the way you are.
I love the world the way it is,
'cause I can clearly see, that all the things
I judge are done by people just like me.
So 'till the birth of peace on earth,
that only love can bring,
I'll help it grow by loving everything.
I love myself the way I am,
and still I want to grow.
The change outside can only come,
when deep inside I know,
I'm beautiful and capable of being
the best me I can.
And I love myself just the way I am.
~written by Jai Josephs ~
A musical rendition of this song that I really like and is a bit different from the video below, is sung by Jerry Florence and his group, Alliance. Here's the link to order it. Unfortunately Jerry left this side of existence seemingly too soon, but in light of my recent awareness, perhaps it was the perfect time.