Progress in Perfection!
Coupled with this understanding, I also appreciate the idea of striving for progress and not perfection. This is an idea taught in the book, "Alcoholics Anonymous," and is used as part of their program. This keeps people from becoming discouraged, and instead it provides support for the idea of moving ahead, step by step, one day at a time.
“No one among us has been able to maintain anything like perfect adherence to these principles; we are not saints. The point is we are willing to grow along spiritual lines. We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection.” ~AA Big Book (4th Ed), p 60.The Truth is that we are, in fact, already perfect. We are, however, striving to deepen our understanding of God, the nature of life and of our true selves, living and helping others to live a live more enriched by the infinite goodness intended for all. We are created in the image and likenss of Everything Perfect and Good. We are meant to experience LIFE to its FULLEST! The more in that direction we move the better off we will be!
We were created in perfection, but if you will recall the story, we wanted a thing called "free will." We hungered for the fruits of the knowledge of not only good, but evil as well. This is where our problems began. In fact, this is where ALL problems begin!
We were given everything good. God saw it good, we were just right and given everything we needed to stay that way, as was given to all creatures equally, enough to sustain life and also to thrive. But we thought we knew better, and we did things our own way...ways which were contrary to Perfect Wisdom and Infinite Love. We still do so many things that are contrary to Life's Perfect Design for Ultimate Good. But we have fun, it boosts our ego, it's cheap, and the gift of free will says we can! We'd be better off, though, to align our will with the will of God, and live Life the way it was meant to be lived. The rewards of so doing include transcending all pain and woe. How do we do this? Follow the path led by Love.
We have strayed, as a planet, so far from the experience of Perfection that it would be very difficult to return to the Garden of Eden anytime soon. But we can journey in that direction, feeling the warmth of the sun shining on our face from that original moment in time when all was well. We can travel to that place again in our daily experience in so many ways. We can go there through meditation and also through the practice of daily routines which emulate the way were designed to carry on. How to bring it into a modern world? The best that we can, that is how! And in that statement alone lies the heart of the topic at hand. We are striving for progress, realizing that it will take time, but at the same time, knowing we are already there--perfect in God's holy sight.
Love. Breathe. Give thanks. Help one another. Do what comes naturally. Think. It is natural for us to be happy, healthy and free! It is natural for us to be loving. It is natural for us to be intelligent beyond all belief! Life life the way it was intended to be lived. Drink water. Eat plants. Run. Laugh. Play. Sleep. Make Love, Not War! Know Peace. Give of yourself and openly receive your good in return, as given by God.
At Essentials of Life Holistic Enrichment Center, we are learning how to enrich our experience of life. We are learning the principles involved, and practicing their application together, giving each other support. We put out there that which we see as being ideal, and we teach ways of bringing this more into your daily experience of life. This does not mean we are perfect in our application of anything that we teach, and neither do we expect you to be. We're learning together, teach each other ways to grow closer to the personal expression of God in our lives.
Some people smoke, curse, drink, eat meat, kill, abuse others, live in hatred and fear, have problems with drinking, lie, steal, cheat on their taxes, cheat on their husbands and wives, cheat in business and cards, engage in dubious sexual behaviors, get abortions, eat junk food, think negative thoughts, gossip, become dependent upon medication, break laws, covet their neighbor's asses and take part in all sorts of destructive behaviors. Should we throw them out of the church? Ha! That's just where we need to be, and yes I said WE! We ALL have something which we need to overcome in order to achieve Perfect Peace.
We are striving to live up to the best that we know, and to learn better ways. We all have bad habits or worse to overcome. No one is perfect, even though in essence, we are. We are spiritual beings having a human experience. Humans have a bad habit of making mistakes. It's okay! Progress, not perfection, is the goal for today! (We're already perfect, besides!)
We make mistakes. That is the meaning of the word, "sin." A sin is missing the mark of living according to our Perfect Design...God's will for us. It's as we are here to learn these lessons. We are learning to return our Spirit to Oneness with God. The human experience is not who we are, it is what we are learning through. We are here to express God in human form. (And the animals are here to express God in animal form, and so on with all of life.)
Sometimes it may seem in learning these lessons that we are doing everything wrong. We are not, so long as we're working towards spiritual understanding and a higher expression of God's will in our life. We will continue to grow closer to who we are meant to be so long as we keep our mind and heart open to Love and are willing to redirect our efforts towards positive growth and the well-being of all.
Don't beat yourself up for not being "perfect!" You are! You are perfect just exactly the way that you are! No matter what mistakes you may make along the way, you always have perfection implanted within to which you can turn. Mistakes are not who you are. Mistakes are simply examples of what happens when we don't align our will with the will of God...the way of Love, the way of Nature, the way of Goodness for all. There are always consequences to pay for these actions, not because some outside "God" is doling out punishment, but rather because life is designed to be lived in accordance with the laws of nature, in love, peace and harmony expressed in all aspects of our existence, and when we do things contrary to this, the whole system gets skewed and out of whack. That's the situation this planet is currently in.
Be in this world but not of it, is all I can say. Be of God. That's who you truly are. You are a creature of God! Work to emulate that, and you will move forward in he right direction. Progress, not perfection, is the goal for today, but know you are already Perfect, and forever (eternally) progress in the direction of expressing all you were created to be. You can begin anew with the next breath.
You're okay. We're all okay. Everything is okay. God is okay. Everything is okay. Everything is God. God is Love. God is Life. God is Good. You are created in the image and likeness of God.
Breathe! Now take the next step in progressing towards realizing the Perfection of All, including YOU!!! You are as perfect as the day you were born! Be tolerant and show forgiveness to yourself and to others for the mistakes that you make. The very best that you can is good enough, so long as you work to improve. How well others are achieving their spiritual goals is none of your business except to pray for their enlightenment, too. We are all created perfectly and are equal expressions of God.
Look at what you can do, and then work on doing it. Maybe it's negative thinking. You can vow to think positively. But I guarantee a negative thought will slip in within the first few moments of ernestly monitoring your thoughts. Try it. Monitor your thoughts, and then instead of beating yourself up over what you find in your head, work towards improving your thoughts. Don't focus on what is wrong, focus on what is right! Then you can build from that place.
Same thing with eating. Look at what you're eating that's right and then build from there. No one eats perfectly in this day and age. Not even someone eating a diet they totally control on their own, they do not...because the water is polluted, the earth, the air...So strive to learn better ways of eating and eat more the way that you discover is more natural and better for you. Start where you are. You can't change the whole thing at once. Maybe start by drimking more water, then eating more fresh fruits and veggies uncooked. Upgrade to organic one piece of produce at a time if you must. Any improvement you can make will help. Not a vegan? Start with Meatless Mondays or with learning and making new dishes and introducing these dishes into your menu. Progression is the key to all growth.
Trying to stop smoking? Smoking one less a day is better than one more. Just be honest with yourself about your intentions. Are you really trying to quit or just smoke one less a day? If you're trying to quit you might want to progress on to the next step of smoking still one less than that the following day! Progression in a forward direction will move you forward. Kidding yourself will cause you to fall back in the pursuit of your goals.
If you're not progressing as fast as you'd like, just concentrate your focus and continue in a forward direction, giving thanks, giving love, praying for guidance from within and acting in accordance with God's Perfect Plan for your GOOD. Trust the process. Trust God. Trust Divine Order at work in your life. Even when things seem all messed up, if we are sincere in our efforts and act with God's Wisdom and Love, God will work through all situations in our life for Good.
I started this writing by considering a writing from the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, which can be applied to all of life's challenges, not only addiction to alcohol. I will conclude with the promises as stated within this same book, which are the natural result of taking the steps needed to live a life more closely aligned with our Perfect Purpose, God's Perfect Will for our Good! Make no mistake, it will be difficult at times, but the journey towards God is always Good, and the rewards come every step of the way.
If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through.
We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.
We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.
We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace.
No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.
That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.
We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows.
Self-seeking will slip away.
Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change.
Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us.
We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.
We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them."