By Dennis Dossett
In last June’s newsletter, I wrote about “ (“Lessons and Tests”) ,” the main point of which was that we chose our life lessons before we incarnated in order to provide an opportunity to grow into a better version of ourselves (aka, soul evolution). Last month’s newsletter was devoted to the observation that “ (“Wir Geben Uns Mehr Mühe”) ,” we give ourselves more trouble in this process—for a variety of very human reasons. Among them, a major factor in giving ourselves more trouble is expecting or demanding “Perfection.” So, just what it “Perfection?”
Perfection: the state of being perfect, flawless, satisfying all requirements, or corresponding to an ideal standard or abstract concept. So says the dictionary. But I don’t believe it—at least not when it comes to human beings. For that matter, I don’t even believe that perfection exists except as “an ideal standard or abstract concept.” And whose standard? The beautiful thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from. If you don’t like or approve of something, all you have to do is to change your standard and everything is “A-OK!”
There are only two reasons I can think of for which the notion of “Perfection” has any validity (and especially, utility). The first reason is that the concept of perfection forms the basis for all judgement, human or Divine, the latter a topic for another day. I’ll return to the second reason later.
For the moment, let’s consider just the notion of “human judgment,” something which nearly all of us do with some frequency, and which many of us would like very much to “stop,” to “give up,” or to “grow out of.” Easier said than done. Of course, judgement comes in two different flavors, the first of which is judging others:
• “Why do you judge and criticize? You do so because the Self needs to justify itself and it can only do so when it can see what it perceives to be imperfection in another. You often set yourself up as judge and jury, believing that you—and you alone—know what is good for another person. Often you feel that what they are doing is wrong usually because it is something your Self would like to do or could have done but did not because of fear. Often it can be because of past-life energy such as something from a past incarnation which upset you. Even the Ultimate Being, or God, does not make judgment or criticize. That energy loves you unconditionally.” ~ Maitreya (Newsletter #224, March 5, 2009)
Maitreya often speaks of other people “mirroring” for us. In other words, what we dislike in others is, in reality, a recognition (and subsequent denial) of what we “know” (often at a subconscious level) to be true within ourselves. Fully acknowledging this fact is generally not very comfortable, so the only way to feel better about ourselves is to feel superior to others. Even if it is difficult to justify that one is “better” than another person, it is always easy to justify their faults or deficiencies on the grounds that they aren’t “perfect.”
The second—and most frequent—flavor in which human judgment is found has to do with judging ourselves for not being “perfect.” What??? That is just the logical opposite of wanting to feel superior to others, isn’t it? Of course! Exactly!
I’ve written before about Attribution Theory in psychology which both explains and predicts that human beings tend to make internal attributions for the “failing” behavior of others (for example, lack of ability, low motivation, “bad attitude,” etc.) while making external attributions for our own failures (for example, the task was too difficult, I didn’t have the resources, there was interference or lack of cooperation, etc.) But, we tend to turn everything around and make internal attributions for our own successes (for example, ability, high effort, “I earned it,” etc.). Any way you slice it, its all about ego (read Lower Self) defense, but the apparent contradictions are all “logically” explained by the mechanism of causal attributions.
The important point here, however, is that demanding perfection of ourselves (that is, “Perfectionism”) is just the action of the Lower Self once again working to maintain control through fear and doubt.
• “When perfectionism is driving us, shame is riding shotgun and fear is that annoying backseat driver.” ~ Brené Brown (1965-; American scholar, author, & public speaker)
• “Perfectionism is searching for faults to justify low self-esteem. It is a guaranteed failure and fantasy.” ~ Brittany Burgunder (American author, tennis player, & horseback rider; Safety in Numbers: From 56 to 221 Pounds, My Battle with Eating Disorders)
• “Perfectionism is not a quest for the best. It is a pursuit of the worst in ourselves, the part that tells us that nothing we do will ever be good enough.” ~ Julia Cameron (1948-; American teacher, author, artist, poet, playwright, novelist, filmmaker, composer, and journalist)
The reason that judgment is so difficult to actually eliminate from our lives, however, is rather simple: Perfection (and especially Perfectionism) is a “perfect” (in the sense of flawless!) tool for the Lower Self to undermine our efforts at self-improvement. But notice the difference between “self-improvement” and “perfection.” Perfection is supposedly the end state of the process of self-improvement, but I believe that perfection as an end state doesn’t exist on the earth plane. I believe that the end state of earthly life is self-improvement, and I’m not alone:
• “Life leads never to perfection but always toward it.” ~ James Allen (1864-1912; British philosophical writer of inspirational books & poetry; pioneer of the self-help movement)
• “Warriors of light are not perfect. Their beauty lies in accepting this fact and still desiring to grow and to learn.” ~ Paulo Coelho (1947-; Brazilian lyricist & novelist; Warrior of the Light)
• “The aim of life is self-development. To realize one’s nature perfectly—that is what each of us is here for.” ~ Oscar Wilde (1854-1900; Irish dramatist, novelist, & poet; Lady Windermere’s Fan, Act III, 1892)
• “Perfection is a road, not a destination. Every time I live, I get an education.” ~ Burk Hudson
• “In this world we are all on the same path, fellow-travellers on the road to perfection. We have ultimately to gain all the knowledge and experience which can be learned on earth: to change completely self into selfless, and to develop all the virtues to the utmost purity.” ~ Edward Bach, M.D. (1886-1936; British physician, homeopath, & spiritual writer who developed the Bach Flower Remedies; Some Fundamental Considerations of Disease, 1930)
So, what is “Perfection” actually good for? Only as a goal:
• “Many ask, “How can I become a perfected being?” I say to you, strive for perfection yet know that, while on this earth plane, perfection is difficult to attain. This is because you are limited by the lessons you have yet to learn as indicated by your astrological patterning. All of you have planets in your astrological makeup which influence your life and present you with choices. … It is the unlearned lessons that stop one from becoming a perfected human being. While on this earth plane you are under the influence of [the] planets, and they become limiting. It is the choices you make life after life that perfect the soul. Each lifetime is a lesson in becoming perfect until there comes a time that no return to earth is necessary. Then one becomes perfected.” ~ Maitreya (Newsletter #340, July 26, 2010)
• “Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp,
Or what’s a heaven for?” ~ Robert Browning (1812-1889; English poet; “Andrea del Sarto”)
Yes, most people occasionally “lie” to themselves about things, people, events—and especially their own beliefs, habits, and other behaviors in order to enhance their own self-esteem. It stems from the primitive survival instinct (the Lower Self) of our species and is even handed down from generation to generation through cultural conditioning and from our own soul experience through countless incarnations. But complete honesty with yourself is by far the best policy even if becomes uncomfortable to admit or even acknowledge your own imperfections. Just remember, those “imperfections” are the very reason why you chose yet another lifetime of experience here on the earth plane. If you are looking for perfection, you are definitely on the wrong planet! Life is not about perfection; it is about growth.
Have a great month!