Perfection Is The Enemy

I wrote yesterday about first-century Christian, Hermas’s, response to his teacher who gave him 12 commandments for life following Jesus. He was overwhelmed considering how to live out all those teachings.

He was told to relax, step back, and not be overwhelmed. You just begin living the life.

Trying to be perfect, especially at the beginning, is the enemy of good.

People hear about meditating. Maybe just for health. Maybe for enlightenment. Maybe just to calm down in their stress of staying home amidst Covid-19.

They then get distracted. Should I get a Buddhist meditation pillow? Do I need to light a candle? Should the room be dark? Is there a special music to play? What if I can’t sit still for an hour? Half-hour? Five minutes?

Jesus suggested to Martha that she was distracted by many things. Calm down and choose the right thing.

For goodness sake, the Buddha meditated under a tree. Brother Lawrence meditated peeling potatoes and repairing sandals. A suggestion—read The Practice of the Presence of God.

You can sit anywhere. Or lie on your back or curled in fetal position. Or while walking (just keep your eyes open). You can touch your thumb to your first finger, or second finger, or not at all. You can burn incense…or not. You can rest for 5 minutes or 120.

My favorite old Zen teaching—Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water; After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.

There is no perfect. There is just doing. Or, in this case, not-doing.

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