The Blessing in Giving Up a Perfect God

     One day I realized with a shock that when I de-realized the existence of something in the name of god (or whatever word you like), for example the ego/personal self, individuation, I was turning away from god/the "absolute" by rejecting its' manifestations, because the manifest world is formlessness enformed! God reveals itself AS this world of form!

    After this, I had to accept that that god/the divine is not purely peaceful, bright and blissful, joyful, or even likeable and that it cannot be relegated to or sanctified in a dimension that is cut off from anything else.  This can be disillusioning to us when we're clinging to a vision/experience of the formless as the untarnished, transcendent/absolute only, separate from suffering. To recognize this is to admit that it is not entirely perfect, at least not in the way that we tend to see perfection as something that can only exist in isolation from the blemishes, flaws, and stains of imperfection. But paradoxically, in seeing this, we open ourselves to the revelation of a kind of perfection that coincides with the bittersweet - flawlessness that is not in opposition to but found in concert with flaws, contentment that walks alongside discontent. This warm embrace of imperfection happens when we hold the aliveness and tension of unified opposites in an inner open palm, allowing for the co-existence in which one does not have to be absent for the other to be present. Silence and noise, peace and turmoil, hunger and satiation, sorrow and ecstacy.  A third thing is created that feels like blazing, heart-flooding vitality infused with equal parts surrender and a poignant urgency to feel fully alive. 

    When you honor that you can't open to all of "god" if you don't open to the full spectrum of human emotion, you may long, as I do at times, to feel radically incarnate, and cherish it when you do. Wanting all of god means wanting all of you.  This can be disappointing on one hand, because it means god isn't going to save us from anything.   But the silver lining is that it unravels the attempt to push parts of ourselves away, for if everything within and without is an expression of god, how can we fully know the divine by pushing parts of it away? To behold god in god's completeness is to slowly embrace a holiness that pervades the profane without erasing it, just as form is suffused with formlessness without being negated. Embracing everything as a sacred expression of god, the practice of self-compassion is infused with new meaning as the act of befriending your pain is softening and opening your heart to unwanted qualities of god, and a profound way to cultivate a connection to the divine in the times we usually feel most cut off from it. In these moments there's truly no difference between caring for your pain and caring for god. From this perspective, self-compassion becomes a beautifully profound non-dual practice of leading transcendence and immanence towards a cathartic, loving recognition of themselves in the other, and in doing so, we can even discover a deeply meaningful way that suffering can serve a higher purpose.


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