goals / practice / zen

The Right Way Part 2 – The Wholeness of Imperfection

In my last blog, I talked about the concept of doing things the ‘right way’. In my last post I wrote about the obsession with doing things the right way and where this obsession originates. In this post I’m going to write about wholeness  and the practice of appreciating imperfection.

Though it may be counter-intuitive there is a difference between perfection and seeking wholeness.When we seek perfection we tend to value only our positive experiences and discard our negative ones.

When what’s happening matches the idea we have in our mind we are WINNING! but when they when it doesn’t we are FAILING! This simple view of progress doesn’t take into account all the complexity of growing as a being.

Take a moment to reflect on your life, Are you certain if you changed any event, whether success or failure, if your life would be the same? You might think if you could change a few things you’d be better off, but are you sure?

Maybe you wouldn’t have met your wife or your best friend. You might have ended up in a much worse situation then you are now. You might even have died. There is just no way to know.

Everything you’ve done has led to where you are now. If you eliminated your ‘failures’ then you wouldn’t be where you are or who you are. If your whole life, good and bad, has given you the gift of your current existence is there really a ‘right way’ to do things?

Often when I suggest that their really isn’t a truly ‘right way’ to do something people object. What about math or engineering? Maybe in some areas there isn’t a right way, but what about for logic. There can only be a yes or a no, 2+2=4 no matter how much you may love 5. Of course there is truth here, the ‘right way’ does not exclude reason or a desire for excellence.

This isn’t to suggest you should be lazy, sloppy, and indifferent  Not only do these things not embody excellence, they don’t embody the wholeness of the ‘right way.’

Often we think that to make something whole is to make it match the standard in our minds, but our own standards are very limited. We are limited in perspective, by our location in the world, in our lives, in our karmic patterns, in our place in time, and in our understanding of the nature of truth. How can our limited perspective hold all the aspects of wholeness?

Wholeness has to hold both the good and the bad. It must hold 2 + 2 = 4, but it must also hold all the answers to that equation that don’t fit into our idea of the ‘right’ answer. 2 + 2 = 4 is the most useful part of that whole when we are trying to figure out how many apples we have, but to think that 2 + 2 = 4 fulfills the scope of wholeness is so limiting. This becomes clear as we look at our own lives.

When we are learning to ride a bike, does the wholeness of learning contain only the time we are in balance? At first we fall constantly and it’s very clear that falling is part of learning, but when we become an excellent cyclist is that not true anymore?

First off, I can assure you that even being a halfway decent cyclist means falling on occasion, but more importantly even when we are riding with skill we are still falling.

Riding a bike is a act of falling and adjusting, going into and out of balance. It is not a static state of riding a bike the ‘right way.’ Thinking of it like that hides all the subtlety that exists while riding a bike.

Excellent cyclists move and flow with the nature of change, they make thousands of little adjustments that fall within very small margins. It is their unity with the flow of change, not their  connection to some static standard which makes what they do truly amazing.

It’s a dance with this constant flow, and the ‘right way’ to ride is not something you can own, but instead something you must join with.

When we look at our lives from this perspective it’s easy to see, how both balance and imbalance are part of the whole.

Take a moment and reflect on some of the things in your life you wished at some point you could have changed. How have these events created the whole person you are today? What lessons did you learn and how have you grown from these challenges?

Without the struggle to break free from the cocoon a butterfly can never fly. Without the challenges and trials of walking all the ‘wrong ways’ we would never learn to navigate our lives.

The wholeness of our lives contains all the flawed and perfect aspects of our being. Don’t forget to appreciate all the scrapes and stumbles that taught you how to walk the path.

Thanks For Reading, Be Well
Gentoku

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