September 30 – We Are Rare – Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening

We are rare, not perfect.

With our hands full of groceries, our heads full of things to do, our hearts full of memories, and our dreams full of plans, we tend to think if we could only get away or finish crossing off the things on that list, if we could only undo what has been done or do what needs to be done, we might then live more completely, more perfectly. But we are human beings, flawed colorful beings that eat plans and memories for food.

This is a deep paradox at work in us. For though we aspire to self-mastery and peace of mind, we are only momentarily whole. As conscious beings living in bodies, we are worn down by the days until we flash open to everything. These are moments of enlightenment, when the clarity and compassion of centuries rise in us, and we are suddenly more than we are, only to trip on the garbage the very next day or to say something hurtful the very next minute to the one we love most.

I used to think of these come-downs as failures, as evidence that I wasn’t trying hard enough, and they would prick me with slivers of inadequacy. I often felt discouraged, as if there were something essential I just couldn’t learn. For a while, I felt deeply flawed.

But I have come to understand that this is only the earthiness of our human condition. It is not to be corrected or eliminated or transcended. Just accepted.

We are in moments pure and ageless as light, and with the very next breath, we drop things orĀ  bruise the treasures of a lifetime. We need to soothe ourselves, not blame ourselves. We are rare, not perfect, and seem destined to know all there is briefly, only to pound it into bread.

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