[I wrote this to address the age-old question of the seeker who seeks perfection in life, the meditation student who all too often sits at the feet (whether literally or figuratively) of his/her guru in a master-disciple relationship of subservience and unquestioning obedience...]
by Kelvin Chin, Executive Director, TurningWithin.org and Meditation Teacher
No one is perfect. Not you. Not me. Not any teacher or guru.
Every mind or soul is eternal. At least that's what I think based on my experiences so far. But even if it's not, it's around for a very, very long time — long enough that it might as well be "eternal."
And as such, our mind or soul can always be growing and learning more about itself. If that's true, then no static state of perfection can ever exist. It is an illusory goal.
But, why do we so often and so quickly latch onto this notion of perfection as a goal?
Because we are insecure. We want the perceived anchor of having a goal that is a "landing spot." We think that having a goal like that will make us feel secure.
But does it really?
What happens when that goal begins to not match up with our reality of life, with our actual daily experience?
For example, what if our stated goal of perfection says things to us like, "When you are truly fulfilled, you are always happy" or, "When you are aligned with your life purpose, then everything that you need in your life materializes effortlessly" ?
Sounds good, right? Reassuring? Definitely.
But what if no matter how much you devote your mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual energy and effort to this seemingly high-minded purposeful objective, you feel like you fall short? That no matter how hard you try, and no matter how clear your intention is, nothing is ever perfect, and sometimes you are unhappy.
Then you feel like you've failed. You've failed yourself. Or so you think.
But think about it. Have you really failed, or have you set yourself up for failure at the start by seeking a goal that is never attainable?
I think it's the latter.
In fact, I think such a goal often promotes suffering. Albeit unintentional, it's an unintended consequence. Because the reality of life is that we all experience imperfections in our lives. And if we assess ourselves based on a yardstick of perfection, we set ourselves up for failure, unhappiness and despair.
Instead, profound "learning" from the acceptance of our imperfections is an alternative approach.
...Said differently, this can be an opportunity for "self-love."
What do I mean by that?
It's easy to say, "Love yourself" when everything is going smoothly. It's not so easy when things are far less than perfect. That is the true test of one's self-love.
Can you accept and "love" all those things about yourself that you aren't fond of? That you see as "imperfect" — whether they be physical, mental, or emotional?
And honesty is important. It's critical.
Double talk is unacceptable. Saying that you (or your guru) took that action "merely in order to teach you a lesson" involves a degree of double talk. How about instead accepting that life is imperfect and that it's ok to make mistakes and that they're not a sign of weakness, lower consciousness, or anything "lesser"?
Might that attitude and understanding contribute to more happiness and contentment, and less self-criticism in us?
So, when you hear yourself following that aspect of yourself (or a guru) who needs to rely on a sense of perfection, it's a red flag. It's a sign that you may need to go within, be honest with yourself, watch out for double talk, and be ok with the feeling of discomfort that often comes along with what we can simply call "living life."
The sublime and stabilizing feeling of "being content within oneself" can come as a direct result of turning within, knowing oneself more deeply, and accepting all aspects of oneself — regardless of how well they align with other people's value systems of development, evolution, or enlightenment.
If a guru comes into your life and says:
"Follow me, I will show you the path to Perfection...," instead of selling all your worldly possessions, quitting your job, and leaving your family for a life of obedience at his or her ashram in the mountains, you might just smile and say:
"Thanks but no thanks, I'm having fun finding my way along the Path of Imperfection, and I like making my own infinite choices just fine."
Kelvin H. Chin is a Meditation Teacher, Life After Life Expert, and Author of “Overcoming the Fear of Death.” He learned to meditate at age 19, and has been teaching Turning Within and coaching others in their self-growth for 45 years. He helps people understand their life challenges through their individual belief systems, and helps them find their own solutions. His past life memories reach back many centuries, and he accesses those memories in his teaching and his coaching in the same way all coaches draw on their own available experiences for perspective and effective analogies. He can be reached at www.TurningWithin.org.