The feverishness for perfection often makes you miserable. If you are vigilantly pursuing the perfection of things and situations, then you are bound to be anxious and angry.
It’s not possible for all things to be perfect all the time. Even the best, the greatest of actions performed with the noblest of intentions, can have imperfections. The tendency of the mind to hold on to the imperfection makes our feelings and minds imperfect and negative. Wisdom lies in getting out of these cycles and staying untouched and strong from within.
This world functions through opposite values. There would be no value to pleasure if there were no pain. Some reason or the other will always be present for you to be upset about. Sometimes, it could be the behaviour of a family member or a friend. Or it could be the neighbour who is causing problems. And if the neighbour is also okay, then it could be the dogs on the street who keep barking all night.
If you have made a habit out of getting frustrated, then no one can save you from misery. No matter how good a place is, you will still be unhappy if you are caught up in negativity. You can get out of it with your own self-effort and the help of knowledge of life.
The wise will not dwell on the surface but will probe into the depths. In a state of ignorance, imperfection is natural and perfection is an effort. In a state of wisdom, imperfection is an effort; perfection is unavoidable.
You need to change your perception rather than trying to change the people or situations you come across. People have the right to be imperfect. You have no business correcting them. If you live in society, then it is only natural that sometimes you will get praised and sometimes blamed. At the workplace, you cannot expect your boss to behave in a way that is convenient to you. Suppose you have a boss who has taunted you three to four times, then you make a perception about him or her and start behaving in a reactive mode. This tendency to perceive imperfection in others creates imperfection in your own actions and inner space.
Acceptance means creating room for imperfection just like we keep space for garbage in our homes. The only way ahead is to do the right action and accept people and situations as they are. The moment you accept a situation or a person, the mind becomes calm and you get a clear space to think and act rather than react.
Acceptance shouldn’t be mistaken for passivity. It’s all about taking proactive action with a calm state of mind. It is the ability to think through and act instead of acting out of frustration. The finest balance in activity is possible only when the right action is taken without a disturbed state of mind.
So neither get frustrated with people nor with yourself. Keep up your enthusiasm and act when it is needed and where it is needed.
We all came into this world gifted with innocence, but gradually, as we became more intelligent, we lost our innocence. We were born with silence, but as we grew up, we lost the silence and were filled with words. We lived in our hearts, but as time passed, we moved into our heads. The reversal of this journey is enlightenment.
It is the journey from the head back to the heart – from words, back to silence; it is getting back to our innocence in spite of our intelligence. Knowledge should lead you to that beautiful point of “I don’t know!” The purpose of knowledge is wonder. The completion of knowledge leads you to amazement and wonder. It makes you aware of this existence. Mysteries are to be lived, not understood. They move you from an ugly “I don’t know” to a beautiful “I don’t know!”
As our intelligence grows, we tend to lose our innocence. The crookedness of the intelligent, or the innocence of the ignorant, has no value, but the innocence of one, who is in knowledge, has value. If one can maintain a gap between “doing,” the “happening,” and one’s self, then it is very precious and it is also very simple.
It is not that one has to strive hard to do something to maintain innocence. An ignorant person won’t say, “I don’t know!” One passes through knowledge, and then one comes to another “I don’t know!” which is the beautiful “I don’t know!” Knowledge increases your idea of not knowing. As you know more, the unknown seems to increase. It can be in any field – music, science or the arts. With this, comes the beautiful “I don’t know!” and that is what innocence is.
Ignorance, which has passed through knowledge, gets into another state, which is the beautiful “I don’t know!” Astonishment is the basis of a spiritual opening. Creation is filled with so many amazing things, but we take things for granted, and when we take things for granted, inertia dawns, tamas arises, inactivity and ignorance come. A sense of astonishment brings wakefulness.
A miracle shocks you; shock is wakefulness, and when we awaken, we see that the whole creation is full of miracles. The entire creation is to be astounded with, astonished about, and wondered upon, because it is all the display of one consciousness.
The same consciousness burns as oxygen in a lamp, then there is light. What is the similarity between light and life? A lamp (light) needs oxygen to burn – so does a life. If you are put in a glass cage, the life in you will be put out. In the same way, if you put a glass cage over a lamp, the lamp will only burn as long as there is oxygen, otherwise it will be put out.
Our little brain is programmed to one or two languages, and we think that all understanding and all knowledge can be captured in this little brain of ours. From the point of view of animals, your language has no meaning. It is just like howling! If cats or dogs hear you, unless you have trained them for a long time, they will think you are mewing or barking at them – just with a different sound; it makes no sense to them! Our language, our intellect, and our mind are so limited; their perspective is limited.
We think we can reason, find logic in, and understand all that exists, because that feeling of “I know it all!” can keep us in a little shell of dullness. But “I don’t know!” creates wakefulness, and you need to be awakened! What is this “I don’t know!”? This “I don’t know!” is the key to spiritual progress. Nature provides you with opportunities to be amazed, again and again; so wonder about: “What is life?” “What is consciousness?” “What is the universe?” “Who am I?” You are so fortunate if you come to this point. This is the beginning of spirituality, of yoga – union with the one Divinity. Let us get astonished at the union. Wonder is the preface of the union and when you are united, you wonder at everything! You walk around, look at a flower, and wonder, “Wow! This flower is so intelligent!” Recognize the intelligence in every petal, in every leaf, in every human being that walks around you. Look at every human being. Consciousness has its own mind, it looks through the eyes, it speaks through the mouth, it responds to you (or doesn’t respond to you) many times. The prana – the life force – is present in every stone, in every object. There is nothing inanimate on this planet. We are all floating in the ocean of life. From the microcosm, to the macrocosm, everybody is just a shell in the ocean of life – it is such good fortune, and this is one such phenomenon. The time scale of the present, past and future, is within the purview of the consciousness. Consciousness is beyond time and space; it is all just vibrations. So if you are amazed, astonished, wonderstruck, just close your eyes with a smile, and be in union with the self.