Better Than Perfect

By: Stephen Levine
Posted: April 12, 2011

What would it be like to wake up on a day when you did not have to be perfect?

Not seeking to build a perfect mind or body or a personality to match nor judging its absence but liberated from the trap of perfection. Meeting ourselves as is with mercy and loving kindness

We are not the personality we have been dealt. The personality is a coping mechanism, a mask through which to face the world whose standards we have been conditioned to fear we do not measure up to. We seem less beautiful less enlightened than we imagine we are supposed to be.

Perfection is a nightmare, liberation a dream come true. It the difference between bondage and freedom. The perfectionist is seldom able to recognize perfection.

We rarely acknowledge that beauty like riches may diminish some forms of unhappiness but still leaves most wanting. Very few who get what they imagine will bring happiness are at peace. Even enlightenment which may perfect the point of view apparently does not perfect the personality. Self-acceptance comes not from wanting but from liberating the heart. It embraces us.

When liberation rather than perfection is what we seek we begin to view ourselves with kindness. We stop comparing ourselves to every passing reflection.

When the heart reminds us to relate to such as anxiety instead of from it even such afflictive feelings become “workable”. Each time discomfort is met by mercy rather than judgment it is a moment of achievement instead of defeat. And that which seemed so to assail us calls forth an uncommon loving kindness.

When liberation is what we seek instead of just perfection mercy becomes a habit. A remarkable warmth displaces the coldness.

Surveying the landscape of the heart we glimpse the possibility of liberating the mean habit of self-rejection before it turns to the suffering we suffer to perfect.

Sending a never-even-considered mercy into our body opens us to a world of possibilities.
Softening the belly won’t perfect us but it can set us free.

It initiates a letting go which frees the mind to open the heart.

The holding of a lifetime is held hard in the belly. Buried in the muscle tissue is fear and unattended sorrow. Our resistance to life, our impatience with ourselves, hardens the belly and excludes the possibilities of the heart.

Freeing our holding around the judgment which considers us imperfect with a sigh of relief we comfortably reinhabit our body, our mind, our heart.

We no longer deny our life. We begin to meet with mercy that which we have so often impatiently rejected. Perfection’s constant dissatisfaction is liberated by an unexpected satisfaction that softens the belly, opens the heart and quiets the mind.