Mindful Meditation Project, Day 5: Perfectly Imperfect

PM (my late husband) frequently used a phrase when discussing a student or child who could not settle into place that I still find myself saying in similar circumstances: ‘Like a fart in a hot skillet’ seems a little crude, perhaps, but I chuckled typing it into words as it conveys the truth of a matter.

Today’s meditation practice was truly like a fart in a hot skillet. I am glad to report that while I did not approach the cushion with the sadness I’ve carried with me over these last few mornings, it was as if the opposite energy presented itself just to be contrary. As I mentioned in the video, I sat with full intention of a routine practice, but about seven minutes in, I was unable to sit still. Nothing was comfortable, there was no ease, my thoughts weren’t jumbled or rushed, but my body felt impatient. I even attempted to meditate with drishti (a soft gaze outward at an arbitrary point), but nothing worked.

I felt a twinge of frustration, but it ebbed into acceptance. This is not the first time I’ve felt unsettled in practice and I am certain it will not be the last. Instead, I used the time to examine our needs for perfection vs. our reality of imperfection.

Or is it the other way around? Are we imperfectly perfect or perfectly imperfect? Is this all in our semantics? I see these as the same–we work to be perfect outside of ourselves (where we perceive imperfection) while at the same time, we are simply perfect. This duality is incredibly hard to comprehend when we have come from the traditionally trained and conditioned mindset that we are in no way, shape, or form perfect in anything, which is the cause of so much of our own self-inflicted suffering. And even when we recognize and address it, we still find ourselves battling the idea and labels of perfection and imperfection however they show up in our lives.

I like to think that today’s homework is one every person can do in multiple spaces and places as they begin to examine this truth for themselves. Find your way into your space, close your eyes, and after settling into yourself, begin to state the mantra ‘I am perfect’ on your inhales, and repeat the mantra ‘I am imperfect’ on your exhales. If the mind tries to argue, as is its job, gently reply that you will address whatever it’s bringing up after your five minute practice is complete.

Do you struggle with imperfection/perfection? How do you address the loop? I’d love to hear. In the meantime…