Perfection is illusive. The obstacle is not in your way- it is the way.

Today has been… pretty shitty. With strong plans of getting up at 6am, I realized waking up around 8am that I had missed the mark a bit. As I scrambled to get my life together and head into work, someone rear-ended me. Once I finally made it to work we experienced a small Lake Lochness as our plumbing erupted. I was at a loss. WTF Universe? Is this your Supermoon bullshit you’re throwing at me? One last hurrah to prove that 2017 was in fact the worst year ever?

Naturally, I went into a tailspin of anger, frustration and denial that this could happen to ME. I’m busting my ass, doing x, y, z, checking all the boxes, making all the chic instagram posts to prove my perfection, and I EVEN BRUSHED MY HAIR TODAY. My deep belief that I had the power to control this day and make it EXACTLY what I thought it should be came tumbling down in a blaze of pouring water, a sore back and a LOT of laundry to do later.

…It’s only 2pm …

As I coyly stared up at the sky lights, shaking my fist, I realized in that moment I had choice:

  1. I could curse the Universe for foiling my plans, damn the Supermoon for taking a super dump on me OR
  2. I could realize that all of this is a part of the lesson and the illusion of my ego that I’m in control. I AM actually in control- but only of one thing- ME and my reaction to this circumstance. None of this is actually happening TO me, just around me. 

I’m reminded of my favorite Buddhist quote that keeps coming up a lot lately:

“Where would I find enough leather
To cover the entire surface of the earth?
But with leather soles beneath my feet,
It’s as if the whole world has been covered.”

If you’re reading a long with our current book A New Earth or ever read the book The Four Agreements both discuss frequently the illusion of the mind and the ego. The ego believes it holds dominion over objects and instances outside of itself and so it lustfully thrusts itself upon every situation to control it, manipulate it and make it ‘his/hers’ (or ABOUT him/her). It is then that our suffering truly begins. Pain and pleasure are inescapable, but suffering is a choice we make when we believe we can affect anything other than ourselves and our reactions to the world around us.

This week we are focusing on asmita or ego. Your ego is not a bad thing. In fact, without your ego, you’d just die. Your ego in different terms is ahamkara or your sense of self and will to live. If these things weren’t in place, antibodies would not fight cancer and other diseases within you. You wouldn’t fight back if the cable company over charges you $200. You NEED your ego. The problem comes into play when the ego is either inflated, or has a false sense of identity about what is happening TO it and what is just happening. When we identify with our bodies, our jobs, our relationships, our circumstances or anything other than our highest Self as ourself, our ego begins to cling onto images (false images) of a perfect version of that. We say to ourselves,”I will be enough when I make X amount of money,” or, “I am loved BECAUSE I have long eye lashes and a killer chataranga,” or “how dare THIS happen to ME” or… whatever.

We begin to identify with our VERSION of perfection as reality and how we define ourselves, and so the spiral of suffering begins. Cut back to this morning, the series of events were:

  1. I woke up at 8am
  2. I drove to work and got rear-ended on the way
  3. During the 9am class our toilet overflowed
  4. By 10:30am the water was cleaned up
  5. By now, we have a plumber here

Those are the facts. Everything else I added onto it (frustration, anger, a couple of choice expletives) were my ego trying to control the situation and make it about me.

So, if you’re like me and having a shitty day (or a series of them), know that:

  1. The Supermoon just might be f*cking with you.
  2. The more you complain, coerce or control, the more pain and suffering you are bringing to yourself.
  3. The more you release and disengage or don’t identify as the obstacle as you, but rather just something that is happening (and not even TO you, just happening in general) the better you will feel.
  4. Perfection is an illusion. It’s quite possible that compared to someone else’s shit day- yours looks ideal.
  5. If you’re really willing to listen, this might just be your chance to learn something or have an awakening instead of being caught up in your ego’s denial.

Consider as you close up reading this post where your illusions of perfection and self might be causing suffering, and consider if there’s another way.

Namaste (and don’t throw tampons down the toilet :)).

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