Perfection Lies In Imperfection
If you live long enough, you’ll have the opportunity to make miscalculations. Maybe a few little ones, or one or more really big ones. It’s just part of Life on Planet Earth. The thing is, though, miscalculations only seem like they are while you’re in the middle of them, or just shortly after them. Then, something interesting happens: perspective.
I was chatting with my brother today about hindsight–that perfect 20/20 vision attained long after an apparent miscalculation. “I coulda done it this way. Or, this way. I shoulda done it this other way and I’d be way ahead.” These coulda/shouldas serve more as self-recriminations than actual astute analyses. Ultimately, you make the choices you make, and the consequences of those choices are reflected in your daily life.
I’ve had the occasion lately to have made a string of apparent miscalculations regarding the business and personal finances, promotional strategies, all combined with what I thought I actually wanted. Without going into detail about the specific events, suffice it to say, after all the miscalculations and choices were made, I ended up: 1) homeless (except for my brother’s hospitality); 2) significantly in debt to the bank, customers, and the government; 3) exhausted, disillusioned and flabbergasted as to how quickly my life seemed to completely fall apart in the course of a few short weeks.
All the old saws have been running continuously through my head: “Things need to fall apart so they can come together in a new way”; “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger”; and my favorite, “What’s perfect about this I’m not getting?”
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Moments of perfection
My theory is that at the end when our life flashes before us–our deeds, misdeeds, intentions, and aspirations, there comes a moment where there must be a glimpse of our life as being perfect. Everything happened the way it happened to bring about the greatest growth or realization of the greatest potential possible. If this death bed vision didn’t happen, how could we let go? Regrets, “hindsight”, and all the couldas and shouldas must coalesce into a vision of a grand scheme that both allows us to feel the exhilaration of completion, and the sublime re-assurance that a loving universe has done all it could to hold us in its embrace, despite our choices. At least, I hope that’s what’s going to happen when I finally kick the bucket.
With that end-times vision in mind, why not apply it to the situations, predicaments, and self-recriminations we experience every day? How are the choices I am making now contributing to the perfection of my life? Or, what about the choices I’ve made that are perfect? It must be perfect because the overall shape of my life is a circle–the creation of a beginning, middle, and ending, where all of it was laid out across this canvas of linear time at its inception.
Now, when I say “perfect”, I’m talking about a result of the greatest good not only for me but for all of humanity, the planet, and the universe. This is way beyond my petty desires for how I would like everything to turn out. It’s the perfection of a holistic vision that is personal existence, that contributes all of its energies toward the creation of Universal Love. Holding the question of how this perfection is playing out in my life when everything is falling apart, is the creative key to better outcomes, higher experiences, and greater self-love. We don’t have to know “how” this is perfect, or “why” it’s perfect; just that it’s perfection in the making, as yet not fully realized, and yet ultimately a complete expression of Universal Love.
Before I wax utterly cosmic, that ancient Taoist story comes to mind of the wise old farmer who owned a horse. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. “Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically. “Maybe,” the farmer replied. The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “How wonderful,” the neighbors exclaimed. “Maybe,” replied the old man.
The following day, the farmer’s son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune. “Maybe,” answered the farmer. The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out. “Maybe,” said the farmer.
The takeaway, for me, is that the ultimate universal perfection is unknowable while we are in the linearity of time; but the belief in the existence of perfection is what can give our lives meaning and inspiration.
That’s why, when my friends and family send their sympathies and condolences about my situation, I reply, “Maybe”…
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