I’m not sure if it is because I’m a Virgo, my New England roots, or just twisted DNA, but it’s gotten very annoying. Practicing self awareness just adds to the annoyance as I become more and more aware of my list.
If I have to see one more Facebook picture of a peaceful meditator basking in the glowing light of their perfection, I just might – what? Stop looking, dreaming, and hoping for perfection?
Recently it occurred to me that my list is never going away, so maybe I could put my attention somewhere else. And then, “duh,” it occurred to me that maybe this is what the practice is about. Those books I’ve read quoting wrinkled, old, peaceful sages advising over and over that “it takes a long time” echoes in my mind.
But isn’t 15 minutes a day for a couple of years a long time? Obviously not.
I am reminded of the phrase, “we seek progress not perfection” that is chanted in 12 step groups.
I’m starting to get it. I can write these words as if I really get it, but don’t be fooled. It’s taking me a long time.
“Inch by inch,” I say to myself when I get a whiff of what the wise ones say. I have attacked my perfection list from many angles and I always lose. Now I think I might gain something by losing the incessant grinding, barking voice demanding an impossible version of a perfect me.
“In the pursuit of learning, every day something is acquired. In the pursuit of the Tao, every day something is dropped.” – Tao Te Ching
Letting things drop away is not so easy.
When I read or hear “not so easy,” I tend to get out my jack hammer and prepare to blast off the shadowy shame of my imperfections. As I said before, I always lose.
“Nothing is more soft and yielding than water, yet for attacking the solid and the strong, nothing is better.” – Tao Te Ching
Inch by inch, breath by breath, I try again. It takes a long time. I’ll keep trying.