Sacred Imperfection

On the Hiking Path: Photo by Noelle

On the Hiking Path: Photo by Noelle

“As long as the ego runs your life, most of your thoughts, emotions, and actions arise from desire and fear. In relationships you then either want or fear something from the other person. What you want from them may be pleasure or material gain, recognition, praise or attention, or a strengthening of your sense of self through comparison and through establishing that you are, have, or know more than they. What you fear is that the opposite may be the case, and they may diminish your sense of self in some way. When you make the present moment the focal point of your attention–instead of using it as a means to an end–you go beyond the ego and beyond the unconscious compulsion to use people as a means to an end, the end being self-enhancement at the cost of others. When you give your fullest attention to whoever you are interacting with, you take past and future out of the relationship, except for practical matters. When you are fully present with everyone you meet, you relinquish the conceptual identity you made for them–your interpretation of who they are and what they did in the past–and are able to interact without the egoic movements of desire and fear. Attention, which is alert stillness, is the key.

How wonderful to go beyond wanting and fearing in your relationships. Love does not want or fear anything.”
~ Eckhart Tolle

I happen to love this quote, but I must confess I wonder if I shall ever achieve what it suggests. Though I spend a daily habit in embracing what is here, I find myself fluctuating between the extraordinary ordinary preciousness of this now and the seeming forgetfulness of an ego on speed. Struggling, often, to be this self-aware, awake, and evolved being all the great Mystics speak of. On paper we can all sound amazingly evolved, but I wonder if Tolle, Tuttle, Kabat-Zinn or Foster have to, themselves, remember their own teachings, again and again. Sometimes Alice’s rabbit hole is a donut that has no bottom.

I remember seeing the Dalai Lama speak. He opened with the following, (paraphrased, of course) “Look I am just a man. Look here. See? One eyebrow goes up and the other goes down. One has tufts of hair growing out, while the other doesn’t. There is no perfection here. I am an ordinary person like you. I am a sacred being as much as you, which is really all any of us are. Sacred imperfection.” I don’t remember what else he talked about, but I remember him pointing at his eyebrows and laughing heartily at his own aging body. I find immense comfort in that, and so, it is what I take into this day. My sacred imperfection.

22 thoughts on “Sacred Imperfection

    • Well isn’t that the truth, Val! And really, how lovely is that? We get to re-invent ourselves again and again, every day. There is a sort of breathing that comes over you when you realize you have been straining for perfection and let go. Like watching a tsunami wave suddenly crash to a peaceful sea.

  1. The beauty of imperfection. I wonder Noelle if that question, “will I ever be like that?” Isn’t itself a question asked by ego.

    • Absolutely! Interestingly, I used to think that the only way to escape the ego was to be this personified version of a spiritual being. Talk about being stunned when I realized that no escape from the ego is necessary, except to embrace who you are today, as already being the spiritual being you thought you were seeking. Warts and all. But it is a daily practice. Not a moment in time that comes and goes and you are then this free being, but rather, a continuous moment of remembering in the chaos of daily life – I am this beautiful sacred being, so completely and deeply and deliciously flawed.

      I posted this piece, because I think we all do this. Read these great mystics and imagine they just live in that space all the time and never come out. “They arrived” and we’re still trying to get “there”, when there is no “there” and they aren’t perfect either. Just brilliant writers on the same trail as everyone else. LIving with their sacred imperfections. Thanks for stopping in, my friend.

      • What you say is all so true,Noelle. Take a look at Val’s recent post post on ice as a metaphor for the ego. I thought it was so good.

      • So funny you should mention, Val’s post, Don. I did in fact visit her post earlier today and comment. I remember thinking the coincidence on topics was lovely.

  2. Wow, what a pertinent entry for me today. Today was a struggling day where nothing came easily. Easy to beat yourself up afterward. Now I shall just embrace my sacred imperfection and be done with it and move onward. I have seen similar writings on this topic but none done so beautifully as yours. Thanks!

    • Probably a little of both. We inherently use our senses to compare what we see, to what we know. The brain is a scanning and comparing mechanism for many reasons. I also think it is true we are trained into this, as well. Competition, gossip, other’s comparisons, mass consciousness and group think, all play heavily into this as well. Trying to step away from that feels really difficult, except, as Tolle noted you draw your focus tightly into this present moment. I am often so surprised when I am upset by something and then stop and really evaluate my present moment that whatever it is that I think has disturbed my world isn’t a factor at all in this moment. As now, I am enjoying a lovely bowl of stew on a rainy afternoon. All of my work troubles don’t exist in this moment unless I invite them in by thinking of them. Easy to talk about, not always easy to do. Thanks for stopping in, my friend.

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