Friday, November 13, 2015

Ridding the Self of Ideals of Perfection

Jack Kornfield writes: "We fragment our life and divide ourselves from it, when we hold to ideals of perfection."
You are like a full box of chocolates


The idea of accepting ourselves just the way we are is not a new idea. In ancient China, the Third Zen Patriarch taught that, 'True enlightenment and wholeness arise when we are without anxiety about imperfection.'
Long ago I heard the group Alliance sing an amazing song, the lyrics began: 

"I love myself the way I am,/ there's nothing I need to change./ I'll always be the perfect me, 
there's nothing to rearrange. / I'm beautiful and capable, of being the best me I can. 
And I love myself, / just the way I am."

This was the theme song for Louise Hay's Hayrides.In the dark days of AIDS, before there was any hope medically, Louise Hay gathered these men and women together and reminded  them of their intrinsic self-worth. For many men self-loathing turned to self-love and acceptance and they were healed.
Yet here we are today, and we still haven't realized how deeply our self-criticism cuts and what damage it does.
If Jack Kornfield's words are true, then our stubborn insistence on making ourselves wrong, is the very thing that is fragmenting our lives. He also says that we are 'dividing ourselves' from it. I am not entirely certain what this means but my best guess is that we are no longer able to see the wholeness that we are. 

The practice of self-love and self-acceptance is not for the spiritually immature. It takes mindful observation and kind and diligent practice. It is usually not something that is done without effort. It is about stopping the inner war and making peace with every aspect of oneself.

For those of us, who believed for one reason or another that we were intrinsically flawed, it is very difficult to bring those shadows to the light and accept them as part of the sacred self.

Recently a friend brought me a gift of chocolates. Each chocolate was looking fantastic. (And they tasted swell too.) There were different sizes, shapes, colors and textures. What would I have missed if I had rejected the colored ones or the square ones because they were different?

I would have missed a whole lot of enjoyment. Love and accept your whole self. You are already enough. Life is sweet.