Whenever I get a bit full of myself with an atypical smugness that suggests this lady has figured it all out, I remind myself of the septuagenarian guru who, after forty years of study, referred to himself as being in “spiritual kindergarten.”
His humble wisdom allows me to laugh at myself; clearly the further we progress toward that elusive goal of understanding where we fit in this chaotic world of ours, the more we realize how much there is to learn and how much farther we will travel toward the realization of our true nature.
Yet we strive for mastery and vie for control as if it were an A-grade on a college course or a graduation diploma that validates our completion of a curriculum that certifies we are experts on living a happy life.
Which produces stress, not peace. It creates an environment of competition and discomfort and puts the emphasis on the culmination rather than the joys and awe-inspiring discoveries that await us along the way.
The path to clarity about life and one’s place within it, is a grand journey. But focusing only on the final result forces us to think in linear terms, as if there were two markers – the start and the end – and everything in between is merely struggle toward the finish line… a grand journey turned into a long grind.
The paradox intrinsic to relentless pursuit of a goal is that we make more mistakes than normal because we are so bound up in being perfect.
I council my clients to give up flawlessness as an aspiration. Our expectations need to be reasonable, and expecting perfection is not reasonable.
That does not mean we allow ourselves to sluff off and hide behind the excuse that “nobody’s perfect.” But reasonable expectations of ourselves – and the people in our lives – are more apt to lead to where we want to be in the long run, at a comfortable, doable pace, small steps leading to long strides… and miraculous adventures along the way.
I love this saying, the author unknown but so very wise, “Use what talent you possess: the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those that sang best.”
There are twists and turns to every worthwhile endeavor and we can be sure that mistakes will be made along the way. But what we call mistakes often turn out to be the pepper in the pot, the unforeseen spice that elevates the standardized into the remarkably unique.
Be it personal, professional or spiritual, fulfillment comes when the journey absorbs the quest. Short of being a hallowed guru or revered, personified reflection of spiritual purity, our happiness is determined by the discoveries made as we follow our own path within the flow of life itself.
Clarity – and contentment – comes with recognition that in a universe of one hundred billion galaxies there is no mastery, only mystery. Do your best to create a healthy loving environment and trust that this is the setting that will light your way.