Love me God, love me.


HarmonyPerfection. A word I’ve been pondering for about a week (and a lifetime), as we complete another month-long teacher training. As usual I learned as much as our ‘students’, who have all touched my heart and kindled the fire of freedom inside me, for Yoga is more about un-learning than learning after all. And what I’m un-learning, along with all these new friends-upon-the-way, is that the path of Yoga, and indeed the path of Love, is less about perfecting ourselves and more about embracing the imperfect within us.

Because nothing in the world of form will ever be perfect! It simply cannot be. Everything here is changing, shifting, evolving, dying. Nothing stays the same for very long. And whilst the perfect Love that caused it all remains ever at peace, the Lila – the play of life, relies on some imbalance. The disturbances are what keep the whole thing fresh. To paraphrase Rumi, if our hands were always a fist, or always stretched open, we’d be paralysed.

And yet we tend to resist this fact, time and time again. We’ll take health, wealth, love and peace any day of the week, but if otherwise we wonder what went wrong.

I’m a real lover of harmony and balance – in my relationships, my living space, and the arrangement of the food I serve – these are the things that bring me joy and safety. I love to see fresh flowers placed perfectly equidistant between the edges of my coffee table. When I go to the bathroom I can’t help but line up the edge of the bathmat with the edge of the bathroom cabinet, multiple times a day. Even if I go to bed at 3am I will likely first fluff up the cushions on the couch and arrange them symmetrically according to colour and pattern.

And I know I’m not alone here.

I can pick my fellow perfectionists a mile off. In fact their ratios are quite high on Yoga teacher trainings. They can be spotted by their clean, colour coordinated outfits, and homework neatly written or typed, clearly set out, and handed in on time (and if late it’s because it took them three times longer than everyone else to do it so well). They’ve usually got a pretty good grasp of things (these perfectionists are no dum-dums), and are passionate, enthusiastic students. They also tend to be a little bit ‘tight’. And I don’t mean muscles here but generally, emotionally, attitudinally ‘tight’. It’s quite exhausting trying to be perfect all the time, let me tell you, and necessarily results in a bit of tension.

Perfectionists are usually very good at what they do. You can count on them. They strive to do and be their best always. If only they knew how impressive they were.

But of course they feel like failures half the time because the thing about perfection is that it doesn’t actually exist. It’s fleeting. Just when you think you’ve found it, it’s gone again. The game has changed. Wham! The flowers I bought yesterday are already dying. Somebody’s gone and sat on the couch and messed up the bloody cushions!

My revelations of the last week have been all about this. Because I’m really very tired of suffering my own imperfection – my absolute inability to consistently get everything right. I’ve been trying my whole life but I’m finally ready to throw in the towel. The formula is nowhere to be found.


The perfection that I seek is to be found instead, in utterly embracing the imperfection. In loving and allowing for the ebb and flow of success and failure, praise and blame. And then, in the spirit of Yoga and radical un-learning, smile, and say, “I see you”. “I see you Perfectionist Tyrant and the way you steal my innocence, making me feel that I should be more than I am, and able to control what I just cannot. Thanks for your astuteness, and your keen observations, but I’ve decided just to let this one slide. Love me God, love me, Your imperfect daughter, as I dance in Your imperfect world. Help me accept, allow and forgive, and learn the true meaning of Love.”

From a recent letter from a student:

“When we did the last session and you read your beautiful poem, and the tears flowed, for me it was such a liberating moment full of self love. I realised that I am me and it’s OK to love myself, and that everything I need is within me already.”

Yes. Yes! We are all just so lovely just as we are, perfect variations of an Ultimate Theme.  If I think of Yoga as a path of perfecting myself, then sometimes I feel beaten before I’ve begun. But if I think of it instead as a path of Love – of embracing the fullness of life in a body, and celebrating Source with every breath, then the sweetness and possibility of that naturally draw me on.

As usual, it’s a paradox. In wholeheartedly, unreservedly loving myself, then I no longer want to limit my light. Without directly trying, I perfect myself anyway. Slowly but surely I trust more, worry less, and let the Dancing Energy within me show the way.

“Then it was as if I suddenly saw the secret beauty of their hearts, the depth of their hearts where neither sin, nor desire, nor self-knowledge can reach; the core of their reality, the person that each one is in the eyes of the Divine. If only they could all see themselves as they really are. If only we could see each other that way all the time. There would be no more war, no more hatred, no more cruelty, no more greed… I suppose the big problem would be that we would all fall down and worship each other.”
               ~ Christian mystic Thomas Merton, quoted in Jack Kornfield’s ‘The Wise Heart’

Om Namo Narayani