Even the Bones May Be Vicious – November 8 2017

Transcendence means that you rise above the thoughts; you don’t destroy them, you don’t remove them. They are all there waiting for you, you must be very careful. That is why it is said: “When should you praise the monk? When the monk dies, when the body is done to ashes, when you blow the ashes away, then you praise him.” Not until then. Even the bones may be vicious, I tell you.
Swami Sarvagatananda, 
Meditation as Spiritual Culmination
As humans we strive for perfection. We seek always, in our own way, to reconcile our apparent imperfection with the perfect self we would like to be.
  • We might try actually to be perfect according to some internalized standard borrowed from society or our peers, our parents, our religion;
  • or we may try to be perfectly imperfect, recognizing our imperfection and calling ourselves on it before anyone else can. Yes, I know. I’m awful, aren’t I? I can’t believe you love me. I can’t believe God lets me live;
  • or we may see the impossibility of perfection and just take it in the other direction. I’m bad. I can’t be even close to perfect. So to hell with it. Just watch how bad I’m going to be.
Most of the time, though, we try just to be better today than we were yesterday. We try to be a little more loving and a little less fearful. We try to forgive. We try to improve. We pay attention to what we are doing right and what we are doing wrong, and we try to move ourselves more in the direction of right.
However we may work at self-improvement, though — through therapy, twelve step programs, or our religion — there will be days we feel so far from perfection, and maybe even from goodness, that all we are able to see of ourselves is our own darkness, our shortcomings.
On a day like this, our human-ness may say, What the hell? Who am I trying to kid, anyway? Or our ego may defend its right to be separative and mean-spirited, because they did something to me and no wonder I’m like this. You’d be like this, too, if they blahblahblah.
So on a day like this, what can we do?
Actually, a day like this is a gift. For if we can learn to love on a day like this, we’ve built a muscle that will serve us well further down the road. It’s easy to love our self and our fellows when all is right in the world and God is in his heaven. But on a day like this, when we feel only separation and judgment, this is the day to look for the oneness. To find permission for our self to be free and full and alive on a day like this counts for something.
And how might we accomplish this seemingly impossible act?
Remember that it is not our job to judge. Yes, it is the ego’s job to judge. But it is not my job to judge. I am not the ego. As it reels off its judgments, I don’t need to listen. Simply by accepting the truth of this we are turning in the direction of knowing our self as something other than the ego.
Remember that this is how we humans learn: by making mistakes. Paying attention to what works and what doesn’t, what feels right and what doesn’t, and trying next time to do it all with a bit more love and compassion.
Embrace a worldview that says: if I am alive, I am meant to be here. If I am here, I am meant to enjoy life. If I can enjoy life even a bit, I can help those around me enjoy life as well.
Each of us is worthy of being alive. Today can be the day we cease ignoring this basic truth of life.
Today I will remember that God has plans for me. I will remember that I am alive because I am needed somewhere, that I have work to do and love to give. And if there is a voice in my head telling me differently, it is the voice of stress release and ego, and just for today I will listen to something other than this voice. Like maybe the wind in the trees or the dripping of rain after a storm or the birds outside my window or the cat purring against my leg. And I will find the way to continue putting one foot in front of the other, whether I feel like it or not. Today I will insist on enjoying life.
Sunset, St. Lawrence River, Ontario, Canada
All original material copyright © 2017 Jeff Kober