Baba says, ‘Perfect means to be free from effect and defect’.
Often in the world, we confuse perfect to mean perfectionism. In reality, they could not be more different. For a perfectionist, nothing — and no one — is ever good enough. They strive for flawlessness- for a perfect outcome. Perfectionism is outside focused- ‘what will they think?’, it’s about perfecting my image and so life is a performance, not reality. Perfectionists hold themselves to irrational standards leading to rising stress, anxiety, and depression. In short, the pursuit of perfection makes our life anything but perfect- it wrecks happiness, relationships and well-being.
Baba teaches me something completely different. He tells me that no one is perfect and that I will make mistakes till the very end. There will be days when there is praise and days when there is criticism. Some days, I will have opportunities, other times, I find myself at the back of the room. I will come across souls that have talents and skills that I don’t and vice versa. I will have to work alongside souls that have very different working styles, and personality traits than me. To be perfect, Baba says, means that my inner stage remain stable in any situation. That means, that my stage is not influenced by anything happening externally- not by praise or criticism, not by level of importance, position or responsibility…none of this. My stage is based only and only on my true identity- I am a soul, not just any soul but a pure soul and I am a child of God.
Perfectionism is body consciousness, to be spiritually perfect means I am soul conscious.
With perfectionism, it is an illusion. In my effort to project flawlessness, I shut myself to learning, improving, and therefore growing. To be spiritually perfect means I am open to learning and growth. It is self-focused – how can I improve? and has nothing to do with ‘what will they think!’.
With body consciousness, I am either impressed or threatened by others’ talents and strengths, I either start to idolize someone or am jealous and protective of my territory. Either way, I am subservient. But when I am soul conscious, there is self-respect, not subservience. I recognize what I can do well and what I can’t do well and I work alongside others to ensure the task’s success. I appreciate a virtue in someone and try to imbibe it within myself but don’t become impressed by the soul.
Whether I am praised or defamed, I recognize that neither is a true state. I always remain grounded in my truth of being a soul, that is loved by God. I learn what I need to and keep moving forward. I am not distracted or carried away by the side scenes along the way. I am not adamant or stubborn, I am flexible- when I confront tough sanskars, I am able to mold myself and find a way around them. I am not fixated on ‘proving a point’ or ‘fighting for my rights’ or ‘being right’. I adjust, I reconcile.
This is true with my own sanskars too. When I come face to face with my own demons, I am not afraid, or embarrassed. I don’t deny or reject. I face them with courage and faith. I reach out to the Supreme Surgeon not with shame but with confidence and trust and I confide in Him. I tell Him exactly what I am feeling and ask for a remedy. I know that He is here for me, to help me move forward, become healthy and so I use Him. When He gives me tools and remedies, I use them. My focus is on getting healthy, in self-progress, not in what others think of me or in comparing myself to others or in judging and labeling.
This is what this spiritual study is about. It is not so much creating something new that did not exist before as it is a return to the original, to the real. I am a pure soul, I just forgot this about myself. Now, I remember. And so remembrance means becoming perfect. When I continue to make my awareness of being a pure soul more and more powerful, forgetfulness i.e. imperfection will automatically disappear. In other words, when I remember the truth of who I am, the falsehoods fall off.
One of history’s greatest sculptors, Michelangelo, said, “The sculpture is already complete within the marble block, before I start my work. It is already there, I just have to chisel away the superfluous material”. When I continue to chip away at myself with the help of Supreme Sculptor, I reveal the angel in the marble, I set myself free. To be free is to be perfect.