Guideline VII
Rodney St.Michael
© 8-8-2002

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Guideline VII

Realize that nothing is perfect.  But travel along the road of gradual continuous improvement within the limits of your capacity.


Of course, as you follow these guidelines, you may become impatient because you won't get results instantly.  You may become irritated and angry because it is imperfect.  The more you feel this way, the greater your tendencies toward the condition called Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

Did you count the number of mistakes in this essay?  Did you think that it didn't seem to be orderly?  Then you need to meditate on this guideline.

Jesus said, "be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect."  (Mat 5:48)  And because of his obsession for perfection, he commanded that "if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away from you.  It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body go into hell." (Mat 5:30)  He also said, "if your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away.  It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body thrown into hell." (Mat 5:29) 

Unfortunately, for some of the millions of people afflicted with OCD around the world (and many of them are unaware of it), they will compulsively wash and wash and wash their hands, to the point where it bleeds, because it is not "clean enough."  You may not be one of those people, but even schizophrenics, bi-polars, or schizo-affectives have tendencies toward light variations of OCD.

Some general cases of course are light.  Some people would just say, "if I only did this!"  Or "why didn't I do that?" or "why couldn't life be this way?" or "I wish I were someone else!"  And they would repeat these thoughts over and over again to themselves. 

So just realize this:  Nobody is perfect.  Nobody was.  Nobody is.  Nobody will ever be.  Nothing in life is perfect.   Nothing in life was.  Nothing in life is.  Nothing in life will ever be.  Think about this every time you become upset.

Otherwise, you might end up in trouble like Jesus, being unable to control your psychosis, just like the time when Jesus overturned merchant stalls near a temple and went wild in the area because the merchants were not holy and pure.   (Mark 11:15)

Moreover, on the macro level, people and organizations that could not stand "imperfection" butchered millions and millions of people.  Idealists advanced their dreams of utopia--the perfect society--through Marxism, Leninism, Nazism, and the like.  Communists such as the Kmer Rouge, for instance, killed approximately 50% of Cambodia's population.  And everyone of course knows the deeds of Stalin and Hitler. 

However, that doesn't mean that you should avoid improvement altogether.  If you learn how imperfection and perfection work together, just as the scientific and straightforward left side of your brain works in conjunction with your artistic right brain, then everything will balance and harmonize.  And you will live a more satisfying life.

This may remind you of Kyudo or Japanese Zen archery.  It isn't a sport.  It's a form of meditation.  Your objective is not to beat your competitors by hitting the target more often than the rest.  The objective is not even to hit the target.  Your goal is to fall into a deep meditative state.  And after doing it for more than a thousand times, hopefully it will make you a better person.  Indeed, the real "target" is you.

By loosing your ego in imperfection, and allowing yourself to be flawed, you allow yourself to win, lose, and let, lose, and let go.  By doing so, you excel.  

As Hong Ying Ming says, “soil with a lot of manure in it produces abundant crops; water that is too clear has no fish.  Therefore, enlightened people should maintain the capacity to accept impurities and should not be solitary perfectionists.”


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