The moment your eyes are open, seize the day.
Would you hold back when the Beloved beckons?
Would you deliver your litany of sins like a child’s collection of sea shells, prized and labeled?
“No, I can’t step across the threshold,” you say, eyes downcast.
“I’m not worthy, I’m afraid, and my motives aren’t pure.
I’m not perfect, and surely I haven’t practised nearly enough.
My meditation isn’t deep, and my prayers are sometimes insincere.
I still chew my fingernails, and the refrigerator isn’t clean.”
Do you value your reasons for staying small more than the light shining through the open door?
Forgive yourself.
Now is the only time you have to be whole.
Now is the sole moment that exists to live in the light of your true Self.
Perfection is not a prerequisite for anything but pain.
Please, oh please, don’t continue to believe in your disbelief.
This is the day of your awakening.

by Danna Faulds

 

I love both the heartfelt invitation of this poem to wake up, and the recognisable “reasons for staying small”. No, I’m not perfect, and I haven’t practiced nearly enough. But what if that – really – is not the most important thing? What if perfection isn’t actually the highest good?

The biggest shift in my personal practice came about 8 years into my meditation journey – after countless hours of practice, many retreats, being a nun, and generally doing all I could think of to progress on that path of self-improvement in the hope of actually feeling ok about myself. It came during the compassion modules where Rob Nairn was teaching about the compassionate mess: we’re not required to be perfect before we deserve (self)compassion, it’s actually alright to be a messy human and we can meet ourselves right there with kindness and acceptance. And when that penny dropped, my focus became less on improvement, and more on acceptance… and I think it’s that acceptance that allows us to see “the light shining through the open door”.

The image I found to accompany this poem, an artwork by Andy Goldsworthy, speaks to me of being whole and beautiful even in brokenness, and the spiral pathway of learning. Again and again, the simple choice in each moment: am I reaching out for something different/better, or can I relax into the awakeness of this moment?

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