The Mindful Path to Perfection: You’re Already There

“In moments of stillness you come to realize that you are already whole, already complete in your being…”

-Jon Kabat-Zinn

I have a tendency to dwell a lot on perfection. I have something of a conviction that things would be easier if I were flawless. Even when I run through the logical extremes of this kind of perfection and realize that even perfection isn’t without flaw, I still crave that state of never-erring.

In a very kind note Duane Elgin sent to me, he pointed out that another definition of “perfect” is more along the lines of complete, pure, total.

Yet another definition is having both pistils and stamens in the the same flower, so clearly not all definitions apply, but this “perfection as wholeness” definition really resonates with me, especially as I’m getting deeper into my meditation practice.

In Full Catastrophe Living, Jon Kabat-Zinn writes, “In moments of stillness you come to realize that you are already whole, already complete in your being…” In this sense, the purpose of meditation isn’t to relax or to stop yelling at my kids or to change anything at all. The purpose is to give myself a chance to recognize that I’m already whole. If more good comes from that, it’s just icing on the cake.

In the body scan meditation CD I have, Kabat-Zinn assures the listener that, “from the perspective of mindfulness practice, as long as you are breathing there’s more right with you than wrong with you, no matter what the condition of your body and its history and no matter what you are facing in this moment.”

It occurs to me that those things that never err are those things that are static, unchanging, dead.

I’m breathing. I’m living. I’m changing, whether I intend to change or not. In that sense, I’m not perfect.

But I exist in this moment, whole and complete. And if I come to recognize this wholeness through meditation or mindfulness or some other means, I’ll not only be breathing, I’ll be living.

And it doesn’t get much more perfect than that.


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