The other day, I spent the afternoon updating my upcoming Classes & Events Calendar for 2013, and before bed, I spent some time reading Pema Chödrön’s new book, Living Beautifully: with Uncertainty and Change.
Over the years, I’ve received spiritual teachings in dreams, and the one I had that night was no exception.
I was facilitating a life coaching workshop for approximately 10 people. As part of the workshop, I was leading the participants through a series of visualization and affirmation-based exercises designed to help them connect with their authentic self. The energy in the room was slowly building.
At some point, during the workshop we took a break. After the break, the class had doubled in size. The class participants had brought in spouses, friends and other loved ones in to join us. We continued with our visualization and affirmations, and the energy in the room increased.
Eventually, there was another break and suddenly we were in a long open space. It resembled the street level under an elevated train line, like you see in NYC or Chicago. Dozens of people were assembled in groups along with the original workshop participants. I went from group to group, leading them in affirmations. I could feel my voice getting hoarse from having to make my voice heard over the crowd. But as I did so, their voices and energy began to rise together:
“I am beautiful.”
“I am whole, complete and healthy.”
“I have everything that I need.”
And in unison, group after group began to chant over and over:
“I am perfect just as I am.”
I woke up in a state of quiet happiness, this final refrain echoing in my head.
I’ve read many spiritual texts, and listened to spiritual teachers talk over the years. And in one way or another they are all saying basically the same thing: divinity is our innate state of being. One of my favorite quotes comes from Zen Master Shunryu Suzuki:
All of you are perfect just as you are and you could use a little improvement.
We are perfect just as we are. The “improvement” we need is direct experiential realization of our inherent perfection and ability to accept this aspect of ourselves as easily as we recognize the love, kindness and great spirit we see in others. The work we do should not be about becoming something new or different.
As Ani Pema herself (who, by the way, has a series of audio teachings entitled – what else? – Perfect Just As You Are) has said:
Meditation practice isn’t about trying to throw ourselves away or become something better. It’s about befriending who we are already.
What might the world might look like if we all were brave enough to proclaim our innate divinity?
My wish for myself and all of you is that we begin to touch that place in our hearts without fear or feeling as if we don’t deserve it. We’re not afraid of breathing. We accept the blood coursing through our veins as being completely normal.
And so it is with our perfection – free, normal and completely indivisible from who we are.
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