As spiritual seekers, we’re always looking for a way to become better.
Instead of operating from fear, we want to operate from a place of abundance
Instead of feeling pain we want to experience bliss
Instead of feeling separate from God, we want to get closer to God
Inherent in that approach is the feeling that we are not perfect, and we’re on this infinite journey towards perfection.
However, that perspective is not always helpful.
It’s not wrong, because that’s how the time-trapped ego looks at the world ie a linear fashion where things need to move from imperfection to perfection.
As spiritual seekers, it’s more helpful to bring our awareness to the reality the world is perfect. God is perfect, and a perfect God can only create a perfect world.
The ego is a temporary identity to function in this physical world but is not our true self.
Our true self in a sense is already perfect. And the journey is from perfection to perfection.
That can be difficult for the mind to grasp.
Let’s explore what we mean by we’re moving from perfection to perfection
Take a look at a rose. At every stage it’s perfect.
There’s nothing wrong with it when it’s a seed, and nothing wrong when it’s dying. It doesn’t need “fixing” at any stage. Every stage is a perfect expression.
So what we see as “problems” in ourselves or the world, is a perfect expression.
How can the world be perfect if there’s so much pain?
But you may wonder how can the world be perfect if there’s so much pain, problems & suffering?
The world is perfect because it’s fulfilling its purpose perfectly.
Think of it this way: What’s the purpose of a mirror?
It is to reflect back reality.
That reality may be pleasant or unpleasant. Either way, the mirror is doing a perfect job.
Similarly, the purpose of this world is not to always make us happy, but for us to know God through his attributes.
And we cannot know His attributes without experiencing contrast. You cannot know what is:
White without experiencing black.
Forgiveness without experiencing abuse.
Ease without experiencing hardship
Hence the pain and suffering is not a sign of an imperfect world. This world is giving us contrast, to help us know God.
And it is through this knowledge, we move in the direction of our highest potential.
How do I deal with my pain?
It starts with being aware that the pain is not wrong. It’s a perfect expression.
To move beyond the pain, the question to ourselves, is “What quality do I need to be (or express) at this moment?”
This is different from asking “How do I fix this problem?” Because that question inherently assumes something is wrong, and hence needs to be fixed.
How does this perspective change the way we look at the world?
When I look at the world from this perspective I find that it affects all areas of my life.
How I look at myself
When my ego tells me I’m not good enough, I can remind myself that a perfect God has created a perfect me. It’s ok that I cannot meet my ego’s standard. I can stop running behind a mirage (ie ego’s standard of perfection), and take action that taps into my God-given internal potential.
It changes the way I parent. Like every seed has the potential to grow into a tree given the right conditions and time period, the same applies to our kids. I can see them as perfect expressions at every stage. Instead of rushing and pushing them to achieve some ideal, I can focus my attention on the conditions I provide my children and give them the time to blossom.
Instead of trying to fix my business so that it reaches some unending goal for profits, I can build it to see what purpose it wants to express in this world.
Next time you find yourself thinking that there’s something wrong with you, remind yourself that a perfect God has created a perfect you. You don’t need fixing. Inside you is this awesome power to reflect Divine qualities. In that remembrance, you’ll be able to access a vast power that will express itself at the right time.
Every day, we are faced with hundreds of choices about what to do. Choices like:
What to eat and not eat
What to give and what to take
What to say and what to hold back
Most choices we encounter are simple, and we decide without much thought. But there are some that create a dilemma because the stakes are high, the situation is grey and we want to make the right decision.
It could be a conflict situation with a loved one or making a big life-changing decision.
When I would face such choices I would ask myself “What’s the right thing to do?”
My experience has shown that asking this question in difficult situations is not helpful.
For example, if I’m in a conflict with someone that has many grey areas, it’s not useful for me to ask “Am I doing the right thing?” because what is “right” is subjective.
Instead, a more useful question to ask is, “Is my action coming from sincerity?” Another way to frame this question: “Am I acting in integrity with my values?“
This question is useful because it shifts my attention from trying to control something external and brings my awareness to the intention of my action.
If it’s clear to me that my action is coming from integrity then I can worry less about the outcome. I can surrender to what happens. I accept I cannot control the outcome.
I can be happy that I acted from sincerity, and that is the best action.
The Prophet (SAW) said, ‘Allah, most High, has receptacles on the earth, and verily they are the hearts. The most beloved of hearts to Allah are the softest ones, the purest ones, and the firmest ones: those that are the softest to their brothers, those that are the most pure from sins, and those that are the firmest [at containing] the essence of Allah.’