From a young age you were likely told “life isn’t fair”.
Innocent people suffer, the rich and powerful prey on the weak, divorces tear apart families, and war, poverty and hatred inflict their terrible consequences everywhere.
News media reminds us daily how imperfect (and even terrible) the world is.
It’s all pretty overwhelming sometimes. It’s one of the reasons why there’s so much escapism in our materialistic cultures.
Video games, Netflix binging, food, sex, alcohol, and drugs… they all offer alluring escapes from the reality of our imperfect world.
Another common response is to reach for that “next thing”. A new career, vacation abroad, starting a family, buying a house…
There’s nothing wrong with having healthy desires (more on that another time), yet they’re often misunderstood to be the solution to a much deeper problem.
The modern materialistic world rarely provides the tools you need to cope with, let alone thrive in our imperfect world.
But there are solutions to the perplexing problem of our imperfect world. There are even ways to thrive in it.
These solutions are not new. They’ve been around for thousands of years. They are spiritual solutions. And they’re the only real meaningful solutions we have for life’s imperfections.
What if you could change the way you saw the imperfections in yourself and in the world?
What if instead of seeing imperfections as obstacles, you could embrace them as opportunities?
To spiritually awakened people, the solutions to life’s unfairness aren’t found in the world, they’re found within.
Understanding that the cure to imperfection lies within is one of the most essential steps to take on your spiritual path, and to succeed in life.
Here’s the big takeaway. If you read one thing in this email, read this:
Here’s 5 Ways to Live and Love Your Imperfect Life:
Accept Life is Imperfect
Acceptance is the first step to solving any problem. Reacting with anger, jealousy, or hatred towards life’s imperfection only makes things worse.
You are imperfect, and the world you live in is imperfect too. Ironically, every time you heard “life isn’t fair” when you were a kid, you we were getting a micro dose of this important knowledge.
By accepting this truth, you free yourself from the negative reactions that so often come when we expect the world to be different.
Acceptance of imperfection comes for the spiritual knowledge that the world is “dualistic”.
The word “dual” means two things. There is no pleasure without pain, life without death, no sadness without happiness, and good without evil. Everything in the world has its’ opposite.
When we deeply internalize this truth about the world, the dualistic comings and goings of life lose their sting, and detachment arises.
We can also look at the word “dualistic” from the perspective of the word “duel,” meaning two things confronting each other. In this world and within yourself, there is constant confrontation of opposing forces.
Should I eat that whole delicious chocolate bar, or just have a piece? Do I accept my terrible job, or do I risk trying to find a new one? These confrontations are big and small, and they happen every day of our lives.
When you learn to accept that dualistic confrontation is part of life, you can develop a foundation to begin to thrive in it.
Rather than being a helpless victim of this confrontation of dualistic forces, you accept your role as an arbiter between them, ever ready to battle for what you hold highest.
Summary: Life is imperfect. You are imperfect. The world is full of duality. The battle of the dual forces is constantly raging within you and the world. Accept it. Own it. Conquer it.
Find Meaning in Imperfection
Somewhere between foraging in the forest and the invention of the cellphone, human beings lost perspective on what it means to live.
Life is not a walk in the park, it’s a struggle up a dangerous mountain. Of course, there are nice views and beautiful meadows to rest in along the way. But life is dangerous. It’s hard.
Technology and modern conveniences give us the illusion of safety and comfort. We’re ill prepared to fight for what is right in this world. Instead we expect that everything should be given to us in a comfortable and easy form.
Most importantly, we’ve forgotten that life’s obstacles and challenges are what give life its’ meaning. Without challenge there is no growth, and without growth there is no life.
In the film The Matrix, Agent Smith tells Morpheus that in the initial creation of the matrix everything was perfect. But people rejected the program and it failed.
The paradox is that even though we desire ease and perfection, we humans expect imperfection. We even admire imperfection in others sometimes. It endears us to them, since we know the struggle that imperfection entails.
Imperfection is baked into you, since nature itself is imperfect. You are not separate from nature, so there is a part deep within you, that realizes imperfection is natural and healthy.
Mastery of life begins when you see every imperfection as an opportunity for your growth – just like in nature. You understand that through the world’s natural imperfection, you can realize your divine perfection.
Then, you can never lose. Then, there are no mistakes. The imperfect world takes on new meaning.
Summary: Life and nature have meaning, because of imperfection. Imperfections help you grow into your human and divine potential.
Love the Imperfections in Yourself and Others
Wholeness is something we all seek. We all want to feel “whole”, “safe”, and “complete”.
What this really means is we must learn to love our shadow – the imperfect part of ourselves. That dark part of ourselves that we try to ignore, neglect or deny. Everybody is shining their light, and casting their shadow.
What we’re looking for most in relationships isn’t romance or affection (although these are important too), we’re looking for unconditional acceptance.
This unconditional acceptance is itself the most profound form of love we can give or receive.
We all want to be OK being who we are. Yet, we fail to love ourselves despite the fact we know that everyone else is imperfect too.
Instead of loving, we turn to judging – criticizing ourselves and others. Sometimes loving others is even easier than loving ourselves.
Loving an imperfection doesn’t mean you indulge or justify your addictions, or lower tendencies.
It means you embrace them, and through this embrace consciously choose to keep them, change them, or let them go. This embrace of negative tendencies is how you reach healing and wholeness within yourself.
Imagine the feeling if everywhere you went, you felt connected to everyone through your acceptance of them?
We all want to be loved despite our imperfections, so we should love others despite theirs.
Rather than letting the mind divide people into ‘other’, or judge them, how beautiful would it be if you could accept their imperfect humanness?
This doesn’t mean you have to agree with, or like everyone. It means you respect everyone with a common dignity – no matter what they believe, or how they act, since they cannot help but be imperfect – just like you.
That’s a powerful thing.
Summary: Learning to love your imperfections is an important part of becoming whole and feeling safe. Loving other’s imperfections is an active acknowledgement that you are loved despite yours.
Surrender to the Bigger Plan
The paradox in the big imperfect mess of the world, is that in the series of life’s imperfect events, the divine is playing out its perfect plan. Within each imperfect human being, is a perfect soul.
The divine is the cosmic intelligence behind all, and its’ divine plan is incomprehensible. As Shakespeare said, we are but actors upon the stage of life, taking part in a play that we do not fully understand.
We have to surrender to the imperfections that we face in life, and not just in context of our own life, but the bigger picture of the universe as a whole.
We are like cells in the body of the universe. We know a little bit about what’s going on around us, but not in the entire scope of the system. The more you can embrace the unknown, and trust it, the more you can accept the imperfections within life.
The unknown itself is seen as a form of imperfection to most human beings, but the unknown plan of the divine speaks to the magnitude of its greatness. It’s so great that it’s incomprehensible.
The unknown is where we have come from, and where we are going. It’s given us everything we know and love. And from that same wisdom, we let it take away.
You have to trust and surrender to the essential goodness of the divine. Trust that no matter how evil or terrible the events of the world, or your life may appear there is always a deeper plan of supreme goodness at play.
In the film Gandhi, he addresses this issue surrounding the problem of evil appearing to prevail over good in the world:
Summary: Our “bigger Self” is up to things that we don’t fully understand. But that’s OK. The divine is perfectly good. Beauty comes of all things.
Connect to your Divine Nature
You may have skimmed or read this far and thought to yourself:
“What Ryan is writing sounds nice, but it’s impractical, and not attainable for me. I’m not divine, and the assholes in this world make it a terrible place to live.”
But it is possible. Sages and saints have proven it’s possible to transcend life’s imperfection throughout every age of humanity. The secret is to practice. To apply this knowledge and embody it in your life.
The imperfections of the world are there to turn you within. To show you that satisfaction is not “out there,” it’s “in here”.
To trust the divine’s plan, to accept yours and others imperfections, to transform yourself – you need a connection to your divine nature.
This is where yoga comes in. Not yoga as stretching. Yoga as union with your divine nature.
This process of unification manifests through all religious and spiritual traditions that bring us closer to the divine.
If you don’t have a relationship to the divine, then the spiritual knowledge I’m sharing will only take you so far. Knowledge and action must go together.
By practicing yoga, you can experience the reality of your divine nature, and actualize your human potential. You then succeed in life where others complain, judge, or hate.
Through yoga you create a relationship with the divine part of yourself that transcends imperfection. It does not deny imperfection, it integrates and transcends it.
The four paths of yoga are the methods that transform your limited human qualities: body, mind, heart, and intelligence into their divine potential.
Turn within. Give yourself the opportunity to experience the divinity within you, and to bring perfection into this imperfect world.
By staying in the world, you are subject to the dualities and imperfections that are an inevitable part of it. By turning within, you connect to your nondual, unified state of being that is peaceful, ever-new joy.
This solace is within you. A safe place of joy, and peace that transcends far beyond the trials and tribulations of this imperfect world. You only need to connect to it.
Summary: The four paths of yoga offer inner pathways of transformation to overcome the imperfections within yourself and the world.
I hope you learned something about how to live and love yourself despite the imperfect world we live in. It’s not easy – that’s for sure.
Sometimes it all becomes too much, when that happens I often turn to music.
Des’ree – You Gotta Be, 1999
The 90’s were a simpler time. I remember listening to this song on the school bus. I didn’t think much of it then, other than it was catchy. Years later, I realize the uplifting power behind it.
Whenever you’re shown how terrible the world is, or you become aware of your own imperfections, always remember:
You gotta be bad, you gotta be bold, you gotta be wiser. All I know, all I know, is love’ll save the day…
Be well always
Creator + Spiritual Mentor
The Supreme Yoga