As a teenager growing up along the Gulf of Mexico, I found the warm waters to be a place of refuge and reflection. The observations of Thoreau’s “Walden” were just as evident in my wading waters as they were under his forest canopy a century prior. The Divine is revealed through the examination of nature, in the simplicity of order, the complexity of design, and the delicate balance of it all. These observations are reiterated in zen teachings and writings. Through these reflections, we discover 3 Spiritual Truths:
- All things are impermanent. There is an unrelenting universal motion that leads to nothingness. Even things of substance - hard, solid, dormant - merely present the illusion of permanence. Everything, whether tangible or not, eventually dissolves. Mountains will one day crumble, what is hot will lose its heat, plants will lose their flowers, and reputations will be lost. Eventually everything returns to the nothingness from which it came.
- All things are imperfect. Nothing exists in a state of perfection. When we examine something closer, the flaws are revealed. There are chips, cracks, missing links. Every artist can see the flaws in his or her own work. The imperfections reflect back to the craftsman. As things break down, they return to their primordial state of being. They become less perfect, uneven, fragmented, and irregular.
- All things are incomplete. Everything exists in a constant, endless cycle of becoming or undoing. We often like to use the words “whole”, “complete”, or “finished”, but when does one’s destiny come into fruition? Is it when the boy becomes a man? When the man reproduces the boy? Or when the man is laid to rest? The same can be applied to all facets of life.
The 3 Spiritual Truths may be hard to digest as they are reminders of our limitations. Yet, they are true blessings, for when we know and accept that all things are impermanent, then everything holds value. Love for others goes deeper. Gratitude becomes a practice. We can let go of things NOW that no longer serve us. Eventually, you will have to let “it” go, even if you wait until your final breath.
When we fully realize that all things are imperfect, we free ourselves from the bondages of “perfection” for we understand that it does not exist. We learn to accept others for who they are and who they are not. We can make amends for our unrealized expectations. We can find beauty and acceptance alongside perceived flaws. When we concede that all things are incomplete we hold utmost gratitude for the present, for the work that you do today will be built upon tomorrow. Whether by you or by another, this energy cycle will always continue. To contest these truths would be a wasteful exercise. Instead, it may be wiser to reflect upon their influences in your life and discover where you too can apply more loving kindness or release unnecessary pain and tension. May you continue on your unique path toward Truth and Light as we continue to elevate - as perfectly imperfect as we all are - together.