Life, death, preservation, loss, failure, success, poverty, riches, worthiness, unworthiness, slander, fame, hunger, thirst, cold, heat – these are the alternations of the world, the workings of fate. Day and night they change place before us, and wisdom cannot spy out their source. Therefore, they should not be enough to destroy your harmony; they should not be allowed to enter the storehouse of the spirit. If you can harmonize and delight in them, master them and never be at a loss for joy; if you can do this day and night without break and make it be spring with everything, mingling with all and creating the moment within your own mind – this is what I call being whole in power.
There are seconds, they come only five or six at a time, and you suddenly feel the presence of eternal harmony, fully achieved. It is nothing earthly; not that it’s heavenly, but man cannot endure it in his earthly state. One must change physically or die. The feeling is clear and indisputable. As if you suddenly sense the whole of nature and suddenly say: yes, this is true.
We readily forget what we once knew as children: our flaws are not only natural but integral to our beings. They are interwoven into our soul’s DNA and yet we continually reject the crooked, wrinkled, mushy parts of our life rather than embrace them as the very essence of our beings.
I once believed that aiming for perfection would land me in the realm of excellence. This, however, may not be the trajectory of how things happen. In fact, the pursuit of perfection may be the biggest obstacle to becoming whole.
It seems essential to value hard work and determination and yet recognize that the road to excellence is littered with mistakes and subsequent lessons. Imperfection and excellence are intertwined. There is joy in our pain, strength in weakness, courage in compassion, and power in forgiveness.
―Ann Brasco, “Killing Off Perfectionism”
For need can blossom into all the compensation it requires. To crave and to have are as like as a thing and its shadow. For when does a berry break upon the tongue as sweetly as when one longs to taste it, and when is the taste refracted into so many hues and savors of ripeness and earth, and when do our senses know any thing so utterly as when we lack it? And here again is a foreshadowing-the world will be made whole. For to wish for a hand on one’s hair is all but to feel it. So whatever we may lose, very craving gives it back to us again. Though we dream and hardly know it, longing, like an angel, fosters us, smooths our hair, and brings us wild strawberries.
―Marilynne Robinson, Housekeeping
I guess that sometimes it just takes a long walk through the darkness, a long walk through the darkest shadows and corners of your soul to realize that those are a part of you as well, that you’ve created through your experiences and thoughts those parts within yourself and as much as you can choose to fear them and repress them, they will require your attention one day, they will need your care and acceptance before you can clean them away and turn the lights on. For you refuse to shine the light on something that is imperfect, because you fear judgement and rejection, but you can always choose to look towards the light as the only source of true beauty and love that can help you in the cleaning process.
Night, the beloved. Night, when words fade and things come alive. When the destructive analysis of day is done, and all that is truly important becomes whole and sound again. When man reassembles his fragmentary self and grows with the calm of a tree.
―Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Flight to Arras
It is almost as if we are all playing a big game of hide-and-go-seek. We all hide expecting to be found, but no one has been labelled the seeker. We stand behind the wall, at first excited, then worried, then bored, then anxious, then angry. We hide and hide. After a while, the game is not fun anymore. Where is my seeker? Where is the person who is supposed to come find me here in my protected shell and cut me open? Where is that one who will make me trust him, make me comfortable, make me feel whole? Some people rot on the spot, waiting for the seeker that never comes. The most important truth that I can relate to you, if you are hiding and waiting, is that the seeker is you and the world, behind so many walls, awaits.
Many secular observers and spiritual practitioners alike mistake mystical chanting as a kind of anthropological curiosity or interesting musical diversion from secular mainstream entertainment, sometimes labeling it ‘world’ or ‘folk’ music. But uttering or chanting spells, mantras or prayers shouldn’t be regarded as a romantic excursion to a distant past, or faraway place, or as an escape from our everyday stresses, for relaxation or entertainment. These sounds are meant to be experienced as the timeless unity of energy currents. The chanting of ancient esoteric sounds enables us to realize we are never separate from the one continuously existing omnipresent vibration of the cosmos.