The Essential Spirituality Checklist.

Photo Courtesy of Akuppa John Wigham

Oh, Come off it already!


Perfectionism can easily be mistaken for spirituality. In a flash the whole path is reduced down to a checklist, a host of ideals that I must become. This is spiritual violence, as I deny everything about myself in the hope of becoming a thought, an idea about perfection.

The spiritual life then seems to be laced with guilt and shame, since I can never measure up to the standards that I have imposed upon myself. At times it may seem that there is hope of fulfilling these standards, almost as if I have gotten over a hump, but in the end there is only failure. I have never been able to express the spiritual ideal. I have never been able to press out my ideas about myself.

I suppose this is because, I cannot be reduced to an idea. The human being just isn’t that one-sided. I have more texture than that, more complexity. Every time I try to become an idea of who I should be, I oppress humanity on the most basic level; I ignore the richness of the human condition.

The shame and guilt, far from being a painful indication that I have once again fallen short, is in reality an inspiring reminder that I have sold myself short. They are in truth a function of natural intelligence, which is pointing out the fact that my legacy as a human being far surpasses the limitations of a static ideal.

I am not a picture to be painted or a checklist to be completed. There is not some spiritual standard that I must meet or some discipline that I must adhere to in order to become fully human. I am fully human, so fully human that I cannot even accept that fact- I am that fact!

I am the space that accommodates guilt, hope, love, sorrow, anger, and compassion. I am the energy which begets thought. A far cry from the poverty mentality that suggests we must become spiritual or fully human, our inheritance as humans is one of being.

There is nothing for us to become because, we are being!

We need not bother ourselves with earning freedom, achieving happiness, or learning how to live life. This only makes us a slave to our own ideals, which cause us to be unhappy, and transforms life into a huge problem in need of a perfect solution. All we need to do is nothing…

Or as Alan Watts might say, “Oh, come off of it!” Stop. Breathe. See. Listen. Feel. Taste. We are not alive; we are life! We are whole, complete, in need of nothing-. We are perfection!

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