The Perfection Paradox

     “Perfect” is a word we rarely use seriously about ourselves. Like meticulous mechanics, there’s usually something about our lives that we want to tweak, change, improve, add, or remove. Just when we think we’ve got the perfect balance or set of circumstances, life steps in and prompts us to shift into maintenance, upgrade, or repair mode. There are parts of this process that are quite natural and life-enhancing. Other parts, however, can become obsessive and life-eroding. Two realizations about perfection are necessary to keep us on the healthy side of the concept. The first is that there’s inherent perfection in all of us… right here… right now… as we are. The second is that the unfolding journey of life is what’s perfect… not any apparent destination. It’s easy to get caught, however, in a state of anxiety when we look at life - or at ourselves - and see a picture that isn’t the way we want it to be.

     A photograph is a frozen moment in time. It’s a capture of one small piece of a larger scene that’s unfolding… going somewhere… becoming something. The captured photograph, though, is perfect - just as a captured part of anyone’s process at any given moment is perfect. At the age of 1, burying your face into your food at the dinner table and using mashed potatoes as hair product is wonderfully perfect. Carrying that public dining ritual into your adulthood, however, may present some difficulties. As this example illustrates, perfection is an ever-present state; and paradoxically, it is ever-changing. When we try to stay in the frozen photographs of the past - not letting go of one perfect moment to welcome an evolution of perfect moments - we cause trouble for ourselves. Attachment to past perfections will cloud our view of the perfection that’s evolving all around us and within us. Life teaches us - sometimes painfully - that perfection will not be contained. It will not stay frozen in time. It isn’t something you can box up and stow away. Perfection is a flow that you must learn to live within. And the more unattached to the past you become, the more perceivable and accessible life’s inherent perfection will be to you.

     The ever-present perfection of life has its source in love, which is the only perfect force in life. And despite temporary illusions to the contrary, love’s perfection is within everyone and everything… without exception. Dark times and dark circumstances appear dark to an innocently ignorant perspective that can’t see beyond its small view of its own little world. Nightfall is not the end of the sun; it’s a phenomenon that makes beautiful sunrises possible. This is as true for a solar system’s rotating planets as it is for us. Darkness is not a sustainable state in the Universe, nor is it sustainable in our own lives. When we are open and humble, darkness teaches us, motivates us, and even guides us in ways that are invisible to a mind that is stuck in victimhood. We must be ever-vigilant, though, because the mind is an imperfect instrument of perception - especially when we use it to examine ourselves. The mind can be deceived by appearances and jump to incorrect conclusions - all the while unaware of its own delusional biases and perceived limitations which have been subconsciously adopted over the course of our lives.

     When we reach for a perfect self or a perfect life, we’re just reaching for something we’ve already got. And when we quiet our mind’s chatter, we’ll begin to feel an internal and external perfection that transcends thought and even logic. Once we discover and accept that perfection within us - and that we’re perfect in this moment, exactly as we are - we allow our perfect nature to evolve… blossoming even more… shining even brighter… frame… by frame… by frame.

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