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.
”Initially when we engage the spiritual journey we think that somehow ‘The Mystery’ is a temporary condition. We think that maybe the ideas we have about ourselves are incorrect, but that there are some other ideas that are correct; and that if we pare away the incorrect ideas, somehow we’ll arrive at some definitive idea of who we are that is valid; that at some point we’ll find some kind of ground and we’ll actually be able to pin ourselves down and know who we are.
The astounding — initially fear-inspiring and later liberating — discovery is that there never was and never will be any concept or idea that applies to us, and that being able to fly in the sky of the unknown is actually the purpose of human life.” ~ Reggie Ray via The Dharma Ocean Foundation
Perfectionism can easily be mistaken for spirituality. In a flash the whole path is reduced 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. Resting in a basic awareness or appreciation of this complexity is the simplicity of being. ~from The Essential Spirituality Checklist by Ben Riggs