PERFECTION: Without errors, flaws, or faults; complete

and lacking nothing essential; excellent or ideal in every way.

I have decided striving for perfection leads to suffering. Looking at my own life reflecting in the mirror; I think I have caught myself on many occasions striving for perfection in an effort to find something short of perfect. Does that make sense? I can recall striving for A’s in college and being happy with B’s.  But that is not the point I am striving for here…

There is so much around us that seems perfect… The models in fashion magazines; the celebrities that grace our televisions; that proverbial God in church that gave us his life so that you and I could be imperfect (if you believe in that stuff)…  The need to be a perfect father and husband? However you interpret things, for many of us, there is a lot of pressure out there.  Whether it is dating, marriage or career, sometimes it is a little overwhelming.

Do you know what else is a lot of pressure? Striving for enlightenment and self-actualization; the very essence of my book, The Responsive Universe. I wrote this book with the genuine effort to help people find happiness in a world of indifference. Yet, it is my own path to perfection that leads me to suffer. It is interesting how we continue to evolve. No matter how much we strive for betterment, suffering still is intrinsic to our being.  I try hard to eat well, exercise more, drink less and be a kind and compassionate person. I am all those things but the passage through these situations is riddled with guilt from my ego that fights tooth and nail to justify its existence. I feel guilty about not juicing every day, not meditating or not spending my money more wisely. You see, the sign posts are there in my mind – I see the best path to follow and also the guilt that sits just to the left and right of my path, nudging me along. It is sort of like a checks and balances system. Even though I walk the right path, guilt still seems to rub off on my shoulders. I know this is the ego … and I know this is life – a continuous struggle uphill for most of us. Many times its takes years to look back on our lives to see the evolution we have carved. Sometimes it is hard to see the forward progress, especially if you are always setting the bar for perfection and falling short. It can feel like you are failing when in actuality you are making a difference.

We all know what we need to do to suffer less. We all know right from wrong. We understand that the ego is our false-self but a necessary function in early human development.  We can all understand that compassion and conviction are foundations on which to build a life of wellness. But there is a point when we just have to let go… Find faith and confidence that everything will be fine and then JUST LET GO… Maybe the key is not to strive for perfection but just strive for improvement. I bet there would be less guilt?

I wrote a book about evolving as an individual and I feel it was a magnificent effort – still in my own world as I continue to evolve socially and spiritually; new answers seem to arise as I push deeper into knowing. I have learned that life is a compromise between perfection and imperfection. As I have written, the Universe is born from imperfection and so were you and I. Why do we strive for perfection now? ahhh… the lessons in life…. So it appears the art in striving for perfection is letting go of the ego and simply do the best you can. If everyone just did that it would be a much better world to live in.

John C. Bader