Ruminating On Rumi

As you start to walk out on the way, the way appears.

~ M. Rumi

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Dancing With Perfection

Thinking. Thinking. Thinking about this dance we have with perfection in our culture.  Seems to me we put a lot of stock into doing things perfectly.  It could be anything. I have always thought that just because I don't know something it only means one thing, I don't know.  It doesn't make one less than, in any sense of the word, by level of intelligence, by understanding of cultural differences, by manners, by you-name-it any kind of skill.

Perfection thinly disguises the mores of a shame based culture.  We all make mistakes. With compassion for each other and self, in every mistake there lingers the possibility to manifest something greater. Each mistake offers the chance of choice and change.

The "holy grail" of perfection is wholly unattainable. Any master will tell you there is always the opportunity to sink deeper into a learning, to experience from a different perspective. Freshness of experience and understanding comes from the "beginner's mind" not from the mind of know-it-all.

I will never forget a time, in my late teens, I, as many teens not only felt a sense of invincibility but we also believed we knew everything (especially more then our parents). Whenever, my papa would offer me a thought or a different perspective my stock answer was, "I know."  Finally, one day he said that if I continued to say I know to everything that was presented, people would stop sharing new things with me. This stopped me mid-sentence; how true this simple observation. I still struggle with those two little words that can shut down true understanding.  Now, more frequently, I am inclined to say nothing. Now I believe that the more I think I know the less I know I know.

I think the pleasure is in the practice. When I find the joy in the discovery of new interests and skills, I am inclined to continue to explore. This place of "beginner's mind" is in the present moment, in the reward of an ever evolving engagement with curiosity. Perhaps, this is "the investigation of the fundamental nature of self."