How to Set Yourself Free From the Pursuit of Perfection

Many people spend their lives striving for perfection—perfection in the way they look, where they work, and their relationships. If they’re on a spiritual path, they might even aim for perfection in their daily meditation practice.

The good news is: we are all already perfect in every way. The not-so-good news is that we’ve forgotten this and, as a result, many of us spend our whole lives in that pursuit of perfection, and therefore we often suffer unnecessarily. How many times have you agonized over whether you’re having too many thoughts in meditation, if your yoga pose is as good as it could be, or what needs to change in your diet?

Perfection is as elusive as silence. You can never quite reach perfection; and just when you think you’ve achieved it, something shifts, and it’s lost. It’s difficult to even describe true perfection. How can you put into words something that’s impossible even to imagine? Instead, many people waste their time focusing on what it isn’t.

The ancient wisdom of the Vedas tells us that the whole world is a projection of the mind. As Deepak Chopra says, “it’s not the Universe, it’s your Universe.”

The mind is quite limited; it’s full of expectations, judgments, doubts, and attachments. So how can something as imperfect as the mind, project something perfect? It can’t. To find perfection, you need to venture beyond the mind. Perfection is not a thought; it’s more of a state of awareness. When you stop trying to find it, perfection will show up at your side.

You have two choices in your search for perfection: you can continue to try to fix the imperfect, or you can step out of imperfection and into the unbounded freedom of perfection itself—to let go and be free of the impossible pursuit.

The next time you find yourself worrying about how to be perfect, consider these helpful reminders to let go.

The Moment Is Always Perfect

This statement can be very confusing for many people. How can a moment be perfect when you’ve just lost your job, a relationship has ended, or you’ve been diagnosed with a serious illness? It’s important to know that perfection isn’t always what we expect or what we interpret as happiness. Perfection just means it’s absolutely correct. 

Acceptance

Acceptance is an integral part of the perfection prescription. The whole universe has conspired since the beginning of time to create this present, perfect moment. We must learn to live in the moment, to accept everyone we meet, and to see every situation we find ourselves in as perfect in that moment.

When you stop struggling against what is, you’ll discover the wonderful opportunity that’s waiting for you. By welcoming everything, you’ll be able to create a future beyond your wildest dreams.

Meditation Is a Tool

Meditation is the most powerful tool to reconnect with your perfection. Meditation takes your awareness from activity into silence, from the imperfect external to the perfect internal. Every time you make this inward journey, you bring a little more perfection back into your life.

Perfection Isn’t in Things

Perfection is in the silent spaces between things—the spaces between our thoughts, our breaths, or the stillness of a yoga pose. When you begin to recognize the spaces, you’ll recognize the perfection. Make space and time in your life for the perfection to shine through. Pause every once in awhile, look at your life, and begin to recognize the perfection that’s already there.

Our Self, our essence, is already perfect, so when we begin to live from that level of Being, the world we are projecting also becomes a reflection of our perfection. If you want to create perfection in your life, you must first find the perfection within yourself.

The Vedantic text, the Bhagavad Gita says, “When you can see the Divine within yourself, you will know perfection in everything.” The great Vedantic teachings have expounded on perfection for thousands of years and the Bhagavad Gita gives many prescriptions for re-enlivening perfection in life.

Early in the text, it says when we are grounded in our own inner essence, we begin to live our lives from the field of silence and infinite possibilities, and only then will our actions be perfectly correct in any situation. Let us dive deeper into these Vedantic teachings to learn how to let go of the pursuit of perfection …

Fearlessness—fear contracts and limits our freedom, perfection is unbounded. Remember it’s your universe; transmute fear into love.

Truthfulness—perfection demands openness, honesty and integrity. Be true to yourself. Know when to speak and when to say nothing.

Generosity—perfection is to give fully from the abundance of life and be grateful for all that life offers in return. Perfection is to say “thank you” for everything.

Forgiveness—we can always forgive the person, whose essence is perfect, even if we can’t forgive the imperfect act. If we can’t forgive, we are the ones who suffer.

Non-attachment—be bold with your desires, but remain detached from the outcome of             your desire.  Non-attachment is saying, “This is what I think I want but, if there’s something better, it’s OK to send that instead.” Allow the wisdom of uncertainty to shower you with its perfect blessings.

Patience—perfection is eternal; find it in stillness of meditation. Water it daily with your presence, watch it grow, and enjoy its fruits.

Compassion—look for the perfection in everyone and everything. It’s sometimes well hidden, so look carefully. In the Koran it says, “God recognizes how much we love Him by how we treat other people.”

Peacefulness—violence to any living creature or to the planet always comes from ignorance. When you see God in everyone, you will never do harm.

Joy—if there isn’t joy in your spiritual practice, do something to change it.

Surrender—when we give everything to the Divine, we have nothing to worry about.

Nothing in the external world can give you perfection and no one can make you perfect. Stop waiting for someone or something to change. Instead, shift your attention and your attitude. Perfection is your essence; you were born with it. Now enjoy it.

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About the Author

Roger Gabriel (Raghavanand)

Chopra Center Educator
Born in Liverpool, England, Roger Gabriel spent his formative years in the United Kingdom and first learned meditation there in the early 1970s. It instantly became his passion and he soon trained to be a meditation teacher under Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. After moving to the U.S., Roger began studying Ayurveda, the ancient Indian system of health care. In 1985, while helping to establish centers for Ayurveda and meditation, he met and became friends with Deepak Chopra. Since then, Roger has assisted Deepak with numerous training programs, seminars, and workshops; taught thousands of people on all continents to meditate; and helped to train hundreds of people to become teachers of meditation, Ayurveda,...Read more