Saturday, September 17, 2011

The curse and blessing of Perfection

ye shall therefore be perfect,
as your Father who is in the heavens is perfect.
- Jesus in Matthew's Sermon on the Mount, Chapter 5:48

I used to be dominated by the pressure to be perfect - i.e. to be very different, BETTER! than I was/am and different than I ever could realistically be.

In various layers of my being, consciously and not-consciously, I used to think that I had to be perfect to be loved, to be acceptable, to deserve the earth under my feet and the sun and rain on my face.
I have been allowing God to shift this for many years now, layer after layer, thought after habit after emotional default after energetic attachment... shifting and allowing light and lightness. It is a blessing to allow healing and change at the deep layers.

It gave me a lever to help me free myself, when my spiritual teacher told me that there is NO perfection in this world, on the PHYSICAL it is an unobtainable ideal, so it would serve me to let it go.

At the same time. it helped me to see and expereince over and over, from a SPIRITUAL perspective, that Everything and Everyone really is perfect: right now; always have been, always will be. Everything is ALL Right. As Julian of Norwich said: 'All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.' That is the spiritual reality which I expereince, when I tune into my mystical senses.

It also helps me to notice what I think perfect is.

Is it a rigid picture of how someone or something should be, an IDEAL? This doesn't work for me, I never live up to my own or other's idealized pictures of who I should be, what I should look like, and what I should do. And nothing in this world lives up to my idealized pictures either. This is a painful way to live, and it doesn't work for me.

Fortunately my spiritual practice has very useful distinctions and practices around these 'perfect pictures' that so often drive us - so I am grateful to be in the process of allowing God to melt them away, as well as the mechanisms behind them, from deep in my psyche.

Another way to look at perfect, which I find enlivening:
The Greek word that is often translated as perfect (as in the quote above), means "having reached its end, full-grown, complete in all its parts, of full age, consummated goal, mature from going through the necessary stages to reach the end-goal, developed into a consummating completion by fulfilling the necessary process, reaching the end (aim)…"

I find this a useful way to look at 'perfection' - like an acorn that has now become a mighty oak (My favorite Christian teacher, Dr Bruce Morgan used to say ; )

Of course, I STILL won't get there, until my life completes and I am ready to transition. But, I really like this definition of perfection: to be allowing myself and God to be in the active process of wholeness, maturity and coming to completion as MYSELF in my Unique Being and Spiritual Journey in this world.

And to be clear! I do not mean coming to maturity through Striving, through Effort, though Trying to be bigger, faster, smarter, BETTER!
  • I mean like a child in the sandbox, playing: and while I play: learning and growing and maturing.
  • I mean like the beautiful tree BEING itself every day in every way: enjoying the land it is on, soaking up the rain, delighting in the sunlight, swaying in the breeze... then millimeter by millimeter = after years, or decades, or centuries of being - it comes to its fullness.
  • I mean a maturity that comes with being myself, creating and playing in this physical reality, trusting God. 
I am excited about that kind of perfection!

Our heavenly Father is Whole and Complete. In God, through God, we also can allow God to bring us to Wholeness and Completeness within ourselves. Amen.