- May 20, 2018
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Fuck the seductive myth of some final rung, some ultimate achievement, some flawless pinnacle of realization. So many lie impaled upon this notion, sucked in by its dangling-just-out-of-reach promises. Many have crucified themselves here, intoxicated by romancing perfection.
And fuck imperfection.
Fuck the forcefed myth of original sin and every other storyline that hammers and flattens us with shame, until we’re either face-down in the muck or compensatorily inflated with toxic pride and aggression. To conceive of imperfection, we have to conceive of perfection — two sides of the same grubby, dysfunctional coin.
A different currency is needed, one that nonquantitatively values us, neither elevating nor degrading us. Of course, we’re all in the mud, even if we have the best seats in the theater — but the muddiness of navigating the staggeringly complex display and evolutionary chaos of Life isn’t something to get away from, but to get more deeply into, so that it’s not just under our fingernails, but in intimate contact with all that we are.
And why? Because there’s a developmental alchemy here, right in the dirt and ugliness and madness, right in the inevitable messiness and stupidities and detours of growing up, an alchemy out of which we are literally forged into a way of being that has no allegiance to escape or resignation.
The elements and catalytic agents that make this possible are already here, accessible to us when we turn toward the pain we’ve been trying so hard to turn away from. Yes, this may sound very simple, but living it is not so simple, largely because of how invested we may be in our various strategies to get away from our pain.
Fuck perfection. When we let the idea of perfection, the haloed belief in it, get to us, we derail ourselves, losing track of what truly matters. While we sit at the feet of the perfect master or partnership or salvation strategy, we blind ourselves to the fungi, cracked nails, and unholy odor of such feet. We then forget that when we crave the roses we are already wedded to the thorns. Dreaming that we are awake is still a dream, one bewildering hell of a nightmare.
Spiritual ladders may still haunt our dreams, their rungs grooved and smoothed by our psychoemotional calluses. The climb can be very heady, intoxicating, aswoon with consoling certainties. The fall may be unpleasant, even horrible, knocking more than the wind out of us, but in such emphatic deflation, we descend enough to have a chance to see and see through our spiritual ambitions and disrespect for our pain.
Going to the heart of our pain doesn’t necessarily rid us of our pain, but rather potently introduces us to a freedom that doesn’t require the absence of pain.
Perfection is the grail of our inner critic; and since we all, inevitably, fall short, our inner critic can again and again drape its version of perfection over our shamed heads, its nagging forefinger heartlessly pointing away at us. This disempowering ritual will persist until we dethrone our inner critic.
Clinging to the notion of perfection allows no mistakes; clinging to the notion of imperfection overemphasizes and pathologizes mistakes. Growing up is all about one mistake after another, accompanied by a built-in capacity for eminently practical self-correction chugging away beneath the surface, at once mechanical and not-so mechanical.
Fuck perfection, fuck imperfection. The journey is messy, just like birth and death, but what arises out of and even because of the muckiness is something we are born to behold, bow to, and express through the wondrously fleeting work of art that is our lifetime.