Striving for Perfection

What’s the point?  Why are we here?  What’s our purpose?  Is there a purpose?  Is there a why?  Maybe.  

Oh.  That’s vague.

I’m comfortable with “maybe.”  I’m comfortable with “I don’t know” and “I could be wrong.”  I wasn’t always OK with these concepts.  I had to KNOW, I had to be the smartest, 100% on all tests, an answer for every question and it was very upsetting to be incorrect.  I hated, and still hate, to be thought of as rude, inconsiderate, thoughtless…I think this is part of why I went into nursing.  It’s the profession of “caring.”  You can’t accuse me of not caring because it’s what I do for a living, although it is true that there are patients who test my ability to care.  I’m not perfect.  I also know that I’m a terrible communicator–days, if not weeks, will go by when I don’t call my extended family members.  This has nothing to do with a lack of respect, or not caring about them, or being angry with any of them.  It simply has to do with the fact that I’m bad at keeping in touch.  I always have been.  If a person isn’t right in front of me or actively involved in what is going on, I have a difficult time keeping them in the loop.  I have only so many hours in a day, days in a week, and so much energy to give on any one of those days–they don’t know that.  Sometimes my silence is out of self-preservation because I’m at my limit.  And I hate, HATE the inevitable phone call–“Hi! It’s me!” “Oh…you.”  “Yeah…ummm…it’s been awhile…” “It certainly has.”  “Look, I’m sorry…”  There is always forgiveness, there is always understanding, and I know there is always love…but it’s hard.  It’s hard to make that call, it’s hard to constantly acknowledge the same failing over and over again, it’s hard to know that no matter how hard I try to rectify it a time will come when it will happen again, not out of malice or spite or even forgetfulness but because I am finite and flawed and I just wanted silence for a little while…a little while too long.  I’m not perfect.

It’s a statement of truth that has become a copout for our failings.  Somehow in the mix of things our humanity got associated with imperfection.  You can’t take away our humanity, we are what our DNA has printed us to be, Homo sapiens.  Therefore, if we accept that we are human, and we accept that humans are not perfect, then we must conclude that as long as we are human we cannot be perfect. What is the point of striving for perfection if it’s a logical impossibility due to the condition of being human?   We’re never going to to NOT be human, so why?  

Why do I keep trying, and failing, to rectify my poor communication habits?  Why do I keep putting myself through the pain of that phone call if I know it will bring tears and it will happen again and again throughout my life (aside from the obvious fact that I love my scattered family and don’t want to be estranged from them)?

Why am I rambling about personal things on a blog that’s supposed to be about Wiccan philosophy?

The answer to the last question is easy–Wicca is life.  It isn’t apart from the every day experience, and it informs our thoughts, behaviors, and choices in EVERYTHING we do.  It’s not something we do at full moons, or on Sunday, or at Halloween, or Easter–it is the way in which we live.  

Being a High Priestess certainly doesn’t mean I am perfect (you did just read everything that came before, right?).  My High Priest wasn’t perfect.  I have read several admonitions he wrote to himself about his “failings” as regards our former High Priestess and her chastisements.  I think he was too hard on himself because he was in no way a failure as a High Priest though the transgressions were real enough.  He had difficulties in his family life, as we all do, and with his friends, as we all do.  Being a Third Degree isn’t about being perfect.  I am unsure that I am adequately able to put into words what it DOES mean.

I can tell you with confidence it isn’t about perfection, however, because Wiccan ethics and morality are all about seeking perfection.  We are taught in our mythology that we are born and reborn, again and again visiting the Summerlands to rest and reflect before returning to this Earthly plane, until we achieve spiritual perfection, at which time our souls, our energy, will rejoin with the Mother in perpetuity.  You’ll recognize this from Eastern philosophy/religion as well.  Did it start in the East?  In the West?  Did they develop in parallel?  I am no expert on history (not my best subject in school, I preferred math and the sciences until I went to college) and cannot comment on “where it came from,” only that it exists in both broad spectrums of human culture.

But we are human, and humans are imperfect, and will ever be imperfect–so why does a religion teach us to seek something so impossible?  Is it not then a futile effort?  Will it not only lead to frustration, misery, even anger?  

We know and understand that we are imperfect as humans on Earth.  But we are more than just human.  We are energy.  We are life, we are spirit.  We are more than our bodies and our brains.  Energy can neither be created nor destroyed.  It is infinite, where are bodies are finite.  We are not striving for human perfection–that is an unrealistic ideal–but rather spiritual perfection.  We transform the lessons learned in the flesh into lessons of energy/spirit.  Learning to communicate better will not make me perfect–but maybe it will teach my soul how to connect more fully with other souls.  I do not know yet, I only know that working to be more than I am, better than I am, is about seeking perfection of spirit, something that is wholly undefinable in our physical plane, and that if I can learn the lesson and come just a little closer to that spiritual perfection, maybe, just maybe, it will make my time here that much easier, that much more pleasant, that much more filled with love and compassion.  

For those who seek to know Me, know that your seeking and yearning will avail you not unless you know the Mystery–for if that which you seek you find not within yourself, you will never find it without. For behold, I have been with you from the beginning, and I am that which is obtained at the End of Desire. –The Charge of the Goddess

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About Ariawn

I am 32 years old and have been studying Wicca for over 15 years. In 2012 I was elevated to the third degree in Traditional English Wicca by Dragoman Sledz. Since his passing earlier this year, it has been my goal to develop and document our Wiccan philosophy as fully as it is within my power to do so, and in doing so continue our mission to bring Wicca out of the shadows and make it available to those who seek the path. I currently reside in Ohio with my husband and our three cats, and I work as a registered nurse in Cleveland. I have an additional bachelor's degree in English literature. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.
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