Saturday, October 16, 2010

Relinquish Your Attachment to Perfection

I have written several times about Nasrudin. Nasrudin is a character in many tales and parables. He lived in the Middle East many hundreds of years ago. Here is another story about Nasrudin.

Nasrudin wanted to add some beauty to his life, so he started a flower garden. He prepared an area in his yard and planted many kinds of beautiful flowers. In due time, the flower seeds sprouted and the garden was filled with the beautiful colors and aromas of the flowers.

There was only one problem. The flower garden was full of dandelions. He didn’t want dandelions. He wanted only the flowers that he had planted. He tried everything that he could think of to get rid of the dandelions. He asked advice of gardeners from all over and tried everything they suggested. Nothing worked.

Finally, he went to the capital to ask advice of the royal gardener at the palace. The royal gardener was a wise old man that had given advice to many gardeners. He suggested many things to Nasrudin, but alas, Nasrudin had already tried them all.

They sat together in silence for some time. The royal gardener finally looked at Nasrudin and said, “I suggest that you learn to accept them.”
The second Noble Truth is that suffering is caused by attachment. When I was first learning tai chi, we used the phrase, “Relinquish your attachment to perfection.”

We cannot expect things to be perfect. There are times when things just do not work out the way we want them to. There are some things in life that we cannot control, no matter how much we want to or how hard we try.

How we respond to events determines our stress level. We can worry and stress about how things didn’t work out the way we wanted or we can let go of our attachment. Peace and happiness comes when we accept what we have and do the best we can with it.

Let me repeat: “We cannot expect things to be perfect”. We are all human. We make mistakes. We have weaknesses. For example, I have been working to lose some weight. This is not vanity. I am trying to get better control of my blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglycerides. I need to do this for my health and my life. I have been doing great for the last several weeks.

So what did I do last night? Laurie and I went out to eat at a Mexican restaurant. I ate almost the whole basket of chips. At least I saved some of the meal for later. My blood sugar was way too high that evening because of it. I could beat myself up emotionally about my failure, or I can remember that I need to “Relinquish my attachment to perfection” and get back on track.

Let us not forget that “We are spiritual beings on a human journey”. Life is a journey, not a destination. Enjoy the trip.

© 2010 Eric Borreson