Perfection and 40 days of meditation.

sea of stars

So, I’ve just completed 40 days of meditation…41 days if you count today, because once you’ve been meditating for 40 days, you don’t really want to stop :)

I’ll be honest, it was a struggle. Not the practice of meditation itself – that was often the best part. No, it was the rest of the day that was difficult. Right from the very first day, perfection (and my distressing lack of it) became the theme that I worked through, up and down, around and around, until it did my head in.

It was kind of surprising, because I had never thought of myself as a perfectionist. If anything, I thought I was more on the slapdash/ near enough is good enough side. Yeah, maybe with icing cakes and housework, but never with myself. I want to be the best (perfect) person I can, and near enough wasn’t anywhere near good enough.

Every day, thoughts of disappointment, failure, frustration and doubt would crash over me:

Am I doing the right things?

Have I taken the wrong turn and accidentally got the wrong life?

Am I doing enough, trying hard enough?

Am I failing?

I was in a funk alright. Brought on by meditation. Yep, meditation, I’m blaming you. If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t have to sit with these feelings day after day. If it wasn’t for you, I could have kept those feelings where they belonged – in my unconscious. But no. It was like Pandora’s Box; out they all came and after a while I began to feel quite unhinged, as if I was a house that was having its foundations pulled apart brick by brick. Precarious.

Perfection, my obvious lack of it (and everyone else’s too! Don’t worry, you weren’t forgotten) was pissing me off. So for most of my 40 days, I wasn’t calm, I wasn’t zen and I definitely wasn’t happy. Strangely though, I didn’t once think about discontinuing the practice, and maybe that’s because there was something else happening that was more interesting than my own misery.
It started off as a game: everyday, something goes awry. Doesn’t it? Things don’t go as planned (sick kid on a work day, changed plans, cancellations, an unexpected twist, a traffic jam). The game, which I call let’s pretend everything is perfect the way it is works like this: something happens unexpectedly.  Instead of jumping in and trying to fix the perceived problem, I do nothing. I say to myself what if it’s better this way? Let’s wait and see. And as I watch and wait, it all miraculously and easily unfolds into the perfect solution. Without me doing anything. Every time. Big things, little things. And everything in between.
Hey, here’s a thought: maybe I don’t have access to all of the information in this game. Maybe the picture is bigger than I could possibly know!
This was a fun game, with no end of opportunities to practice it. Although I still sucked, the events around me were resonating with beauty and rhythm. I felt part of a greater wisdom and grace, plus it was much less stressful. You should try it :)
The penny dropped on day 38. I was in the bath on a rainy afternoon. The rain was making music on the skylight, the water was warm on my skin, and the fragrance of lavender, sandalwood and orange filled my senses. I looked out of the window and saw the laundry hanging there wet on the line, as well as the blankets from the spare bed that had been put out to air in the sunny morning. We had arrived home in the middle of a torrential downpour, too late to take them off.
I had a brief second of “Oh no! The blankets are wet! Alex won’t have any blankets on his bed!” And then I relaxed and wondered what if this is actually perfect? After all, Alex had stripped his bed because something was biting him – maybe the covers needed a rinse as well? Who knows :). I’ll tell you what I do know though – no amount of worrying and fretting is going to make those wet blankets dry. Then something else occurs to me – an idea floats down into my mind like a feather drifting onto an open palm.
If something like a wet blanket on the line in the rain could be perfect and necessary in a way that I can’t quite grasp now….doesn’t it also fit that perhaps my life and where I’m at right now could also be perfect?
Time and again I had seen it happen; life has a natural homeostasis which continually leads back to harmony and balance (they are perfect words don’t you think?). And if we get out of the way and let events (and ourselves) unfold naturally, everything is already perfect…or will be if we wait a little, and trust a lot.
I’m not missing out, I haven’t taken a wrong turn, I’m not failing, and my life is not a mistake. Everything is happening in its own time. Divine Order. Finally, finally, I see it. Everything is happening in the right time, in the right way and is exactly how it is meant to be.
My lesson? Don’t fuck it up by jumping in too soon. Wait, and if you need to act, you will be shown what needs to be done. Often, it’s nothing. Chill out woman! Go and do something useful like meditate will you?
:)
Have you ever embarked on a meditation commitment? What was your experience?
 
NB I should make it clear that this is a process that didn’t happen overnight, or even over 40 days. My big inspirations and source of guidance were Eckhart Tolle‘s book The Power of Now, where he tells us to first stop fighting against the present moment, then work on accepting it, then embrace it as if you have chosen it. This has been a work in progress for 8 years. Another wonderful teacher is Tosha Silver, who I’ve mentioned before. She speaks of Divine Order and actively working with the Divine. I first read her book Outrageous Openness about 2 years ago, and she is a great person to follow on facebook too.
 
 

 

17 thoughts on “Perfection and 40 days of meditation.

  1. Talk about amazing timing, Sara! I just finished a post, and another weekend… event, that I struggle through, due to my inability to just ride it out. I’ve been considering medication for years… It’s been recommended; I’ve known
    I should try it, and yet something keeps holding me back. Your post really inspires me! I think when I get home, I’m going to give this a try! Thanks for sharing your journey. 😘

    • Yaaay! I love amazing timing :) Just do it, don’t listen to your brain anymore – what does it know about these things? I started off with a guided meditation which I think I mentioned in “Why aren’t I enlightened yet?” which was a good way to shut my mind up. Good luck :)

  2. Ah… brought a few tears to my eyes… we’re so hard on ourselves!!!!! I’m so over it too… so damn sick of not being able to relax into the perfection of it all. Thank you for a beautiful reminder!!!

    KLx

    • Kara-Leah, thank you for sharing your inspired action which then leads me to have these realisations. You have been such a great assistance in my life, and I’ve never even met you! Isn’t the world a funny, magical place?

  3. Love this love this love this! Was worrying last night because the car rego was due today and I hadn’t booked it in anywhere, had to drive to Coffs unexpectedly this morning (forgotten violin), was on my way back thinking ‘Should I just drive to the mechanics and start begging now?’ when a still, silent place inside me gently guided me to go home instead…and then gently guided me to check online if I was RIGHT about the registration being due…and it’s not due until September. I felt like I was being cradled through this whole experience…which is actually true about life in general, isn’t it? And all we have to do is just open our eyes and see. Thank you so much for this beautiful post <3

    • Zoe, thank you so much for this comment. It is precisely because of days like the one you just described that I needed to have this practice. My observation, that everything always works out if we let it, has been a wonderful realisation. We are being cradled, I really believe that – it’s just that like naughty children, we are always trying to climb out of the cradle!

  4. Very interesting and insightful blog Sara, thank you for sharing. I meditate daily too and the hardest part for me was to allow myself that time to do it! Now after 8 weeks in the process I am longing for that special time when I can observe my thoughts being formed and passing by without them affecting me, it’s such a relief! :)

    • Thank you for popping by Anne, lovely to hear from you. The first 40 day commitment I did was a while ago when I did 40 days of yoga: and I would definitely agree that the hardest part was finding the time and justifying the time spent on something that just benefited my self. Definitely an interesting process!

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